Trump Predicted the Future of Media, And The Washington Post Proved Him Right


Five years ago, then-President Donald Trump said the media would miss him when he was gone, which was why he’d be spending two consecutive terms in the White House.

“Another reason that we’re going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes,” Trump said, according to The New York Times.

“Without me, The New York Times will indeed be, not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times.”

He may not have gotten the second term in the White House just yet, but he wasn’t lying about the media missing him — particularly The Washington Post.

On Tuesday, the Times reported that, in the post-Trump era, the capital’s newspaper of record was struggling to maintain subscribers and grow digital ad revenue.

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“The organization is on track to lose money in 2022, after years of profitability, according to two people with knowledge of the company’s finances,” the report read.

“The Post now has fewer than the three million paying digital subscribers it had hailed internally near the end of 2020, according to several people at the organization. Digital ad revenue generated by The Post fell to roughly $70 million during the first half of the year, about 15 percent lower than in the first half of 2021, according to an internal financial document reviewed by The New York Times.”

That’s not a minor slide. According to data from Zippia, the Post’s revenue in 2021 was $310 million.

While the paper has “boomed” since Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos bought the paper in 2013, the Times noted, “[a]s the breakneck news pace of the Trump administration faded away, readers have turned elsewhere, and the paper’s push to expand beyond Beltway coverage hasn’t compensated for the loss.”

Will the liberal media ever get back to pre-Trump ratings?

And yet, the Post is hardly alone. Plenty of news outlets have lost readership since the end of the Trump era. In fact, the two big outlets to gain subscribers during the Biden administration are two New York-based competitors for the Post: the Times and The Wall Street Journal. (OK, so maybe Trump got the “failing New York Times” bit wrong so far, too, but give the Gray Lady a bit, and she’ll catch up with the failing WaPo, as well.)

And it’s hardly just the liberal print media that’s suffering.

In March, Forbes noted that February 2022 prime-time ratings were down 49 percent at CNN compared to February 2021, the month after Trump left office.

Over at MSNBC, things were even more dire, with a 59 percent drop in prime-time ratings.

The only gainer? Fox, naturally, with a 6 percent year-over-year gain.

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While liberal networks tend to do better with a Republican in the White House and visa versa, the Trump hangover is much more pronounced.

But then, there was an outlet that noticed the painful effect the lack of The Donald was having on cable news as early as March of 2021: The Washington Post.

“Barely two months into the post-Trump era, news outlets are indeed losing much of the audience and readership they gained during his chaotic presidency. In other words, journalism’s Trump bump may be giving way to a slump,” the paper reported.

“The most deeply affected network is CNN. After surpassing rivals Fox News and MSNBC in January, the network has lost 45 percent of its prime-time audience in the past five weeks, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC’s audience has dropped 26 percent in the same period.

“The level of drama and tension throughout the country has dropped considerably,” Howard Polskin, who tracks conservative media via his website TheRighting, told the Post.

However, most of that “drama and tension” was created by a media that made Trump into a bogeyman. The thing is, the former president was able to play off the left’s outrage and make it work for him. And, as it turned out, it worked for them.

Now, he’s gone, The Washington Post is failing and left-wing cable news is struggling to draw viewership. They hated him then, but they sure miss him now.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture