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Saturday, December 07, 2013

An institution begins the slide

I suppose there are many who will lament the first step in the demise of New York magazine. I tend to see it more as reason for good cheer:
This week’s announcement that New York magazine was becoming a biweekly was greeted, in my profession, with the sort of cheer that might herald the announcement of a sewer line backup or a mid-honeymoon appendectomy.

New York magazine is very successful. Its editor is very well regarded, and it wins lots of awards. It gets scads of Web traffic. It publishes magazine features that win the admiration of fellow journalists and has also become practically ubiquitous on social media. And, apparently, it still can’t pay the bills as a weekly publication. Hearing that New York magazine can’t make it as a weekly is, for a professional journalist, rather like being told that your teddy bear has cancer. How is that even possible?

The answer is that the circulation of print magazines is declining, while advertising revenue has taken a suicidal plunge. Companies who wanted to inform people about their firm’s activities used to have basically three choices: print media, television or radio. (OK, four if you count billboards.) These were all media companies, and they used the money corporations gave them to produce news.
What I find remarkable is how many of these institutions will glumly permit themselves to sink into oblivion without ever doing anything to significantly address the core issues. CNN is going to try to compete with every other network showing reality shows rather than make any attempt to appeal to the other half of the ideological spectrum. New York magazine has gone to a biweekly rather than attempt to broaden its appeal beyond liberals who live in New York and liberals who wish they did.

As technology gradually kills the liberal media's ability to maintain its monopoly, it becomes ever more obvious that media was never first and foremost a business, but rather a giant propaganda machine wherein profit was an incidental bonus rather than its fundamental rationale.

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35 Comments:

Blogger Alexander Thompson December 07, 2013 1:08 PM  

I was at my doctor's office this week. The table in front of me had several New York magazines. I can't remember the covers, just that each was a generic liberal meme that is seen everywhere else liberals push their crap. Nothing unique except the pseudo fancy font of the title.

Anonymous Anonymous December 07, 2013 1:18 PM  

Of course the media doesn't see any need to broaden their appeal, no one in the media knows anyone who thinks their appeal needs to be broadened.

e.g. Pauline Kael not being able to believe Nixon had won since she didn't know anyone who voted for him. Their echo chamber is if anything even more impermeable today.

Anonymous VD December 07, 2013 1:28 PM  

Pick a name, please, Anonymous. Under Name/URL. Any name.

Anonymous TWS December 07, 2013 1:32 PM  

They have _enough_ money if they wanted more they'ed steal it as bankers. This is about status.

Anonymous DonReynolds December 07, 2013 1:33 PM  

Excellent comment, Vox.
One of your best.

Anonymous 445supermag December 07, 2013 1:36 PM  

Meanwhile, Backwoods Home magazine seems to be expanding (a libertarian version of Motherearth News, with a guns feature by Massad Ayoob). Guns and Gardens (a magazine about southern living) even had its editor interviewed on NPR.

Anonymous Salt December 07, 2013 1:38 PM  

Why don't these liberal bastions simply have Obama add their subscriptions to the all ACA plans. Abortion, contraception, and the New Yorker.

Anonymous Bah December 07, 2013 1:57 PM  

What I find remarkable is how many of these institutions will glumly permit themselves to sink into oblivion without ever doing anything to significantly address the core issues.

You could say the same of Western Civilization writ large.

Blogger Carnivore December 07, 2013 2:27 PM  

What I find remarkable is how many of these institutions will glumly permit themselves to sink into oblivion without ever doing anything to significantly address the core issues.

Seems to be part and parcel for those of a liberal bent. Reminds me of the California fluff heads who flee the state after the programs they instituted destroyed the place. They then agitate for the same programs in their new state. When there's no place to go, they'll ride the ship to the bottom.

Anonymous Godfrey December 07, 2013 2:34 PM  

Wow, didn't know it was still published.

Anonymous Godfrey December 07, 2013 2:40 PM  

"...it becomes ever more obvious that [liberal] media was never first and foremost a business, but rather a giant propaganda machine..."


True, and maybe the reason there's a possibility that liberal media (really establishment corporate media) will be bailed-out someday with funny-money sourced back to the banker cabal called the Fed.

One does have to keep the serfs fooled.

Anonymous Susan December 07, 2013 2:50 PM  

Another surprising thing, to me anyway, about these liberals is that if anything resembling a right wing buyer came along and wanted to talk deal, they would throw the biggest of hissy fits.

Most recent examples, Al Gore selling out to Al Jazeera rather then Glen Beck, and IIRC, the LAT to Bezos rather than the Koch Bros. Even in this economy, they would rather be unemployed then have a job.

Blogger Crowhill December 07, 2013 3:06 PM  

What I find amusing about these stories is that they will blame the decline of the magazine on the "death of print."

Print has nothing to do with it. Wired is doing just fine in print.

The problem with New York magazine -- and with almost all magazines that are failing -- is that they haven't offered something that people are willing to pay for.

Anonymous pseudotsuga December 07, 2013 3:07 PM  

There was a time, way way way back in the 1800s and up to the early 1900s when media was clearly biased. Newspapers were clearly for one party/ideology or another. It wasn't until a few decades into the 20th century that journalism theory changed to non-partisanship. Over time, mission creep has caught up to big media, who pretend to non-partisanship yet fail to actually be such.
Now I wonder what the relationship of that "shift" was to the long march of the Frankfurt school into American Culture.

Anonymous DonReynolds December 07, 2013 3:26 PM  

pseudotsuga......"There was a time, way way way back in the 1800s and up to the early 1900s when media was clearly biased. Newspapers were clearly for one party/ideology or another. It wasn't until a few decades into the 20th century that journalism theory changed to non-partisanship."

I happen to prefer the adversarial approach rather than the pretense of being non-partisan (or "fair and balanced"). It works well in the courtroom as long as two lawyers dislike each other and both want to win the case. Only in this way can we expect both sides of a story to get full disclosure. It is the same way in the media.....and I quickly admit there is no assurance or guarantee that both sides will get equal time or equal enthusiasm, and the jury selection seems to come from the same few individuals.

Anonymous ENthePeasant December 07, 2013 3:57 PM  

The Obama media machine relies heavily on the internet. They encourage their "members" to constantly attack views than the one projected by Obama and his Democrat minions. In other words they are trying to control internet media just like other media. I'm sure we've seen those people here and as an admin for a gun training site I've seen anti-gunners show up regularly with Obama/Liberal BS. The affect has been to solidify our own positions, not cast doubt as they intended. As a matter of fact they are exposed time and time again for the fools they are. It has been discussed here a lot, but Liberals/Progressives simply believe they're the smartest people on earth. They show up sounding reasonable ("I'm a Jew and wouldn't give up my firearms to anyone. However..."). But soon the bloom is off the rose when they discover that any lie they tell, or assertion they make, will be challenged with fact checking. Then they go nasty and smarmy, and finally it's on to the name calling. Then there are the comment sections of any article written in major media. The writer may be liberal but the commenters often tear the writer a new asshole. They foolishly believed that they could control the internet just like they control the NYT and CNN. Idiots!

Anonymous Will Best December 07, 2013 4:12 PM  

It works well in the courtroom as long as two lawyers dislike each other and both want to win the case. Only in this way can we expect both sides of a story to get full disclosure.

The American judicial system is somewhat unique in its adversarial process, that isn't typically the case throughout the world. But it works because the jury hears both sides. Since everything is personal to a leftist, any thoughts that don't conform must be evil. And once something has been identified as evil it is no longer necessary to understand it, just to oppose it.

Anonymous JI December 07, 2013 4:30 PM  

I've come to this same conclusion, Vox, regarding the media being a liberal propaganda machine. But how is that possible? I'm struggling to understand how businesses people can do this. I mean, every business on earth is about making money. This is so alien.

I knew for years there was a pent up demand for conservative-slanted "news" in the US, but none of the main press outlets would cater to that market. Rather, it took an Australian to step in and rake up billions of dollars. Again, it's so weird, why wouldn't the US news media want to make money??!!!

Blogger brian December 07, 2013 4:38 PM  

News has always been a money losing business. The three-letter networks used to be able to make bank on their "entertainment" programming to cover the losses in the news divisions. But with most of that programming now being garbage that has to compete with hundreds of cable channels (that don't have news divisions hanging around their necks) and dozens of other entertainment streams they can't do that any more.

Good riddance, I say.

Anonymous ENthePeasant December 07, 2013 5:02 PM  

"But how is that possible? I'm struggling to understand how businesses people can do this. I mean, every business on earth is about making money. This is so alien."

A couple of things here. First off it's always been stet up as a propaganda tool for Liberals. This goes back to the 1930s and Roosevelt. The other part of it, the really silly part, is affirmative action. As is often pointed out around here, "Women ruin everything." And look at how many are involved? Does anyone think for a second that those who benefit the most from the liberal slant are ever going to willingly give up their status? They can't adapt, it's culturally impossible. So they will die.

Anonymous DonReynolds December 07, 2013 5:36 PM  

ENthePeasant......"Does anyone think for a second that those who benefit the most from the liberal slant are ever going to willingly give up their status? They can't adapt, it's culturally impossible. So they will die."

We hear the same thing from the Liberals and Leftists who insist that whites will be a minority in this country soon, ..... outnumbered, outvoted, and outgunned by a combination of blacks and hispanics, or simply a host of hispanics. The Liberals and Leftists say we will simply be overwhelmed and destroyed, never to recover or elect anyone, and finally die off....soon forgotten by our own country.

To which I always reply.....It has been tried before, many times, give it your best shot. I will too. Why wait?.....do it today.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 07, 2013 5:48 PM  

Susan December 07, 2013 2:50 PM
Even in this economy, they would rather be unemployed then have a job.



actually, they're so delusional that they believe that they can sell out to anybody but the American conservative ( Al-J is muslim conservative, so they're a-ok ) and still survive.

in spite of the repeated crashing and burning of things like Air America and Pacifica and the 'major' news networks regularly getting depantsed by Fox they keep saying
THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT.



JI December 07, 2013 4:30 PM
Again, it's so weird, why wouldn't the US news media want to make money??!!!



they aren't rational and, as a consequence, their actions in the market aren't rational.

i mean, you do understand that the first piece of subtext that you need to recognize when someone tells you they're a Marxist is that you're dealing with someone who is either fundamentally irrational or a sociopath, right?



ENthePeasant December 07, 2013 3:57 PM
The Obama media machine relies heavily on the internet. They encourage their "members" to constantly attack views than the one projected by Obama and his Democrat minions.



yes. what you need to understand is that it's NOT JUST Scalzi wearing a t-shirt saying that he's going to 'usurp your narrative'.

this mentality is almost global on the left. so little of reality ever impinges on their lives that they don't comprehend anything beyond 'narrative' and the control thereof. if they can convince you that your narrative has been outgrouped or even if they can just get you to shut up ...

they consider themselves to have won.

Anonymous ENthePeasant December 07, 2013 5:58 PM  

bob K: "if they can convince you that your narrative has been outgrouped or even if they can just get you to shut up ...

they consider themselves to have won."

And that's why it's all going sideways. The internet isn't limited or controlled. They can't get people to shut up and or agree. Nightmare of all Liberal Nightmares, they suddenly find out that areas they thought they'd gained supremacy (controlling the definitions and allowed content of the argument) are null and void on the internet. There views are simply not accepted or considered settled, and this leads them into a tizzy... but not into victory.

Anonymous GG December 07, 2013 9:38 PM  

"The internet isn't limited or controlled."

Well, there is a major struggle going on right now, one that must be won if we wish to preserve what we have.

Anonymous dh December 07, 2013 10:07 PM  

As technology gradually kills the liberal media's ability to maintain its monopoly, it becomes ever more obvious that media was never first and foremost a business, but rather a giant propaganda machine wherein profit was an incidental bonus rather than its fundamental rationale.

This is crazy talk. New York magazine is failing for the same reason that everything media orientated is. Too many alternatives.

Liberals, like conservatives, have hundreds or thousands of choices for media consumption now. That's it.

rather than attempt to broaden its appeal beyond liberals who live in New York and liberals who wish they did.

The idea that somehow you are going to tap into a vast new market by targeting New Yorkers who are ideologically conservative is ridiculous. What sort of long form, cultural and political articles exactly do you think are going to interest the few hundred thousand conservatives in New York city?

If anything you should be supportive of New York magazine. You may not share the ideology, but if you were publishing a magazine that was for Blue SF, wouldn't you shutter it before turning it into a Pink SF outlet?

Anonymous dh December 07, 2013 10:10 PM  

in spite of the repeated crashing and burning of things like Air America and Pacifica and the 'major' news networks regularly getting depantsed by Fox they keep saying
THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT.


This is really silly. The reality is that the major three networks, nightly, pull in 20-27 million news viewers. Local news programs on the same three networks via affiliates pull in another 50 million news viewers. Fox News, on it's best day, reaches 2 million viewers during an entire day. All of those media sources - network, affiliate, and cable news, skew heavily older viewer. Massively so in the case of a few of those outlets (especially CBS and Fox News, both have a very old demographic).

Anonymous dh December 07, 2013 10:14 PM  

Something weird. The article is about New York magazine. The picture of the newsstand on the top of the article features prominently, The New Yorker. And McCardles description of the magazine reads a lot more like The New Yorker than New York Magazine.

Anonymous lurker December 07, 2013 10:45 PM  

RT for the win!

Anonymous dh December 07, 2013 11:36 PM  

I knew for years there was a pent up demand for conservative-slanted "news" in the US, but none of the main press outlets would cater to that market. Rather, it took an Australian to step in and rake up billions of dollars. Again, it's so weird, why wouldn't the US news media want to make money??!!!


This is partially true, but only as far as it goes. Fox News is generating in the ballpark of $700 million to $1B a year in operating profit. Great. So there's that.

Companies that control the liberally orientated media, are doing okay. For example, Disney which is through and through liberal, tolerant, gay friendly, etc has profits in the range of $5B-$6B a year. If Disney, for example, created an alternative outlet to ABC that was conservative, like say slightly to the right of Fox News, much of that profit could be jeopardized.

Fox has done a great job building a powerful brand. But it is not a forumula. There was unmet demand for Fox New, but realize that Fox News is probably close to as big as it can be. It has all the right-wing oxygen.

Anonymous kh123 December 08, 2013 1:28 AM  

" For example, Disney which is through and through liberal, tolerant, gay friendly, etc has profits in the range of $5B-$6B a year."

I'd figure increased annexation over other entities in the past several years plays a part.

Anonymous clever hans December 08, 2013 3:26 AM  

Is it bad form to compare BigLibMedia holing up in their fortresses, holding fast against the barbarian swarm even unto death itself rather than compromise their Holy Religion even one iota....to the good folks at Masada? Is it bad form to remind BigLibMedia how poorly that strategy worked out at Masada?

Or should we just sit back and enjoy the show?

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 08, 2013 9:05 AM  

It appears the New Yorker equates to SNL, as it all applies to NYC and nowhere else.

OpenID whoresoftheinternet December 08, 2013 9:43 AM  

Good riddance and let them rot. This is a magazine that, just a few short weeks ago, was celebrating abortion and letting the killers talk about how good babk-killing was for them, to the cheers of the blood-thirsty leftists everywhere:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/11/ny-mag-abortion-cover_n_4254155.html

Ya know, I don't think leftists really understand the irony of celebrating Wendy "Kill 'em All" Davis wearing blood-red sneakers during her filibuster for filicide.

Evil, every last one of them.

Anonymous Wald December 08, 2013 11:28 AM  

I can't wait for the propaganda machine to declare bankruptcy. In the power vacuum that follows, the manosphere will surge in popularity.

Anonymous TJ December 08, 2013 3:44 PM  

Someone once mentioned here that Marx said that the Left's ideas need to be subsidized (paraphrasing here).

Does anyone have the quote?

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