Have you noticed the (relative) quiet? The almost-calm reporting on President Biden and his initiatives? The lack of stress when you read the paper or listen to the news in the morning? How the network evening news broadcasts sound more like The PBS NewsHour?
It is the soothing sound of media in the post-Trump world. Relish it.
True, there are still headlines like the page 1 Washington Post piece on Saturday: “Vengeful Trump Back on the Attack.”
But Lisa Lerer struck the new tone with the lead of her Political Memo in The Sunday New York Times yesterday: “Locked out of Facebook, marooned at Mar-a-Lago and mocked for an amateurish new website, Donald J. Trump remained largely out of sight last week.” That’s more typical of the mainstream media reporting in the post-Trump era.
Of course, there are exceptions: Fox, OAN and others continue to beat the Trump Drum. They faithfully report on The Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from the 45th President. They trumpet the expected downfall of Rep. Liz Cheney for the crime of telling the truth. They cover the voter suppression efforts in various red states.
But in the mainstream, the tenor is more relaxed. One neighbor told me over the weekend that she is spending less time on the news, but enjoying it more.
Trump was right about one thing when he was president: back in 2017 he predicted: “Newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there. Without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.”
In fact, the Trump Bump has become the Trump Slump. All three cable news networks’ ratings have shrunk since January 20. Compared to March, 2020, Fox News total-day viewership is down 40%, CNN’s has dropped 32% and MSNBC has lost 19%. Further proof, if needed, that bad news sells.