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Mainstream media online traffic tanked after Trump left The White House

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Mainstream media’s 4-year-long sustained and relentless “battle royale” against President Donald Trump, and his own distaste and fierce criticism of them may not have fostered a healthy political and social climate in the US, but this certainly brought a lot of traffic and by extension revenue to these outlets.

Now that Joe Biden is in the White House, that traffic has declined by 20 percent or more in February compared to just a month before, web traffic analytics firm SimilarWeb has said.

Unlike Trump, whose every move was in the limelight and scrutinized, Biden seems set to carry out whatever policies his administration has in mind with the public, for better or worse, not paying much attention.

Print and broadcast media analytics companies said that there had been three times fewer stories about Biden in February of this year than about Trump in the same month in 2017, i.e., the first month after both took their respective presidencies. Cable broadcasters reflected the same trend, dedicating about 1,836 minutes to Biden last month, against the 4,669 minutes spent talking about Trump in February four years ago.

More results emerging from this data show that interest in finance and business – stoked last year by the economic crisis caused by Covid lockdowns and other measures – is declining, but less so than that in politics.

What some mainstream media take away from this is that people are now used to the “drama” from politics that was present during the Trump presidency. However, much of that drama, producing polarization and divisions, may have actually come from the media themselves, rather than politics per se; after all, the current sharp dip in traffic shows they had incentive to keep whipping up that drama for financial reasons, beyond any preferred politics and ideologies.

However, not all outlets are seeing a decline in interest in political news: conservative ones have seen a huge surge, with Newsmax 179% up last month compared to daily average during the past three years: SimilarWeb said One America News Network (OANN) and Gateway Pundit gained 157% and 70%. And when Trump addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this month, 7 million people tuned in to watch.

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