Exactly HALF the Story
In 1987, the "Fairness Doctrine" was repealed. This cartoon is VERY accurate:
IF YOU ARE A LIBERAL. Meaning that the cartoon tells exactly half the story. First of all, about the year 2018, someone pissed in Matt Drudge's Cornflakes and his website is starting to nudge back toward the middle. That's going to be important later in the story.
Now, returning to the cartoon from the Right's perspective. After the Fairness Doctrine passed, media outlets like NBC and CNN started moving to the left. At first some outlets tried having a token right-wing presence, but over time, even the appearance of neutrality faded. Outlets, as they moved left, savaged Moderate George Bush as a Nazi, As the Right said, out loud, that they were the Right, the Left continued to portray themselves as "the Middle," pissing off consumers of news that preferred truth in advertising. In the 90's, MSNBC lurched the Peacock as far to the left as Rush Limbaugh was on the right.
Far Left websites like The Daily Beast and Mother Jones became national players and pushed their New York/Los Angeles agendas. The left wing media began moving far left talking points like defunding the police and transgender bathroom rights, issues that weren't even on the political agenda a generation ago. The reason right wing media grew was in direct response to the middle being abandoned. Pick your favorite traditional news outlet, any one. Who's the conservative voice at the USA Today? Who's the conservative voice at CNN? Who's the conservative voice at the New York Times? Even if you named one, you'd be hard pressed to name two.
So now we're in the mess today because the market didn't dictate the news. Billion dollar, left wing, corporate news agencies burned though money moving agendas and not the news. The Koch Brothers may have been in the shadows funding the right wing, but CNN/NBC/ABC had INFINITELY more money in their coffers than all the entities in the above cartoon combined.
Since the Fairness Doctrine fell, everything became political and Free Speech came under attack. Again, not from the Left OR the Right, but from the Left AND the Right.
What set me off on this diatribe specifically is MSNBC's Brian Williams. Just a reminder, he should have been fired from the news business in 2015 and recently took a run Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Williams called Cruz "Kremlin Cruz" in reference to a story about America's military. Calling a Republican "Kremlin Cruz" is not neutral. That is moving a left wing agenda.
But I'm no fan of Ted Cruz either. He used to stand for ideas (whether you agree with them or not), now he is simply satisfied with sparing with liberals. Really. I don't know what he stands for anymore except arguing. Anyhow, Cruz shot back at Williams "you are Pravda."
Which would be a clever retort for the early 1960's. Thanks to the recent invention of the magical internet, you can actually go to the Pravda website.
Pravda, the print edition, is still run by the Communist Party. Pravda, the website, is run by a private company. I am going to ask you, the reader, do you get your news from newspapers? Or from websites?
That's what I thought. After I explored the Pravda website, they are actually farther to the RIGHT than MSNBC, so Cruz's insult basically pre-dates the internet, because if you put Cruz's insult in the google translator for 2021, he is yelling "Brian Williams, you are FoxNews." Which makes no sense whatsoever.
I am making a prediction. As the Left moves farther Left, and the Right moves farther Right, Matt Drudge is positioning himself toward the center. Not for any philosophical reason other than to grow his product. The Drudge Report, as a news aggregator, doesn't have a tenth of the cost of other news websites. Even if CNN and FoxNews both went out of business, in theory, Drudge could still run his aggregator business with small news links.
If you treat news as a product, moving your product to an under represented portion of the marketplace makes the most sense. I believe most news consumers are in the middle begging for some semblance of neutrality. If you asked me who had the clearest vision of news for 2040, it wouldn't be CNN or FoxNews, it would be Drudge.
If you re-installed the Fairness Doctrine, both CNN and Fox would be screwed, they'd have to reconfigure half their staff. Drudge would just have to re-align some of the ways he chooses some stories.
And if you ran a cost analysis of the business strategies at the big news sites, and if some of their "mysterious" revenue streams dried up, news conglomerates would be dead in the water. The Drudge Report appears to be a low cost/low overhead production.