Is the New York Times doing as well as it says it is?

A theme that has emerged from this blog has been the decay and inevitable destruction of the mainstream media. However, if one reads only the New York Times, one could be forgiven for thinking that its prospects have never been better:

“Trump is the best thing to happen to the Times’ subscription strategy,” said Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times on CNN Sunday. “Every time he tweets it drives subscriptions wildly.”

He added, “Our digital subscriptions are through the roof, our print subscriptions are up.”

Trump has long derided the Times for critical coverage of his campaign and administration, deeming it the “failing New York Times” whenever he speaks about the paper publicly.

Indeed, the Times added 276,000 net new subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2016. But is the Times’ financial picture as sound as it’s made out?

In the press release touting the increase in new subscribers, the Times  reported that adjusted operating profit (which reverses a one-time charge) declined from $289 million in 2015 to $240.9 million in 2016. Among the reasons for this decrease is the 9% year-over-year decline in adversting revenue, from $638.7 million in 2015 to $580.7 million in 2016.

Furthermore, one can ask reasonable questions about the quality of the new subscribers. For example, the Times has entered into a marketing arrangement with Spotify, in which not only a new Times subscriber receives a free Spotify Premium account, but can pass along two complimentary subscriptions to his or her friends. Therefore, one can ask what the Times pays in net acquisition cost for, and receives in additional revenue from, each new subscriber.

Beyond that, there is the curious question of where Times’ subscribers actually reside, which is a key metric for advertisers. As ZeroHedge reports:

Ultimately, for the NYT to be viable as a going concern, it will need to stem the plunge in ad revenue which may also be adversely impacted by Trump’s relentless bashing.

And then there is the question of overall traffic, which brings up another curious observation.

Three weeks ago we showed that, inexplicably, according to Alexa a whopping 49% of the NYT’s readers were out of China, which was impossible since the US publication is firewalled in China.


Since our public observation, the NYT’s Chinese “traffic” has crashed to just 3.5%, which while still improbable, is far more reasonable.

As a consequence of this, the public-facing NYT traffic has tumbled to the lowest level in a year. It is this, more so than Trump’s twitter feed, that advertisers will be closely looking at when making future ad campaign decisions.

Notwithstanding exclamations to the contrary by its editors, the clouds over the viability of the New York Times have yet to dissipate.

NB: This is not intended to be construed as providing investment advice in any way.

The Oscars’ Early Ratings Don’t Look Very Good

Breitbart reports that:

Ratings for the 89th annual Academy Awards slid for a second consecutive year as a slew of wins for much-beloved La La Land, a shock Best Picture win for Moonlight and a game host in Jimmy Kimmel couldn’t move the needle this year.
According to Deadline, the three-hour, 49 minute Oscar broadcast on ABC averaged a 22.4/36 in metered market results, in the “early” numbers, marking a nine-year-low for the show.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that figure is down around four percent from last year’s telecast, which drew a 23.4 rating in the early numbers. Last year’s broadcast ultimately drew 34.4 million viewers, enough to make it the third least-watched Oscars ever, so the lower initial numbers could mean this year’s broadcast drew even less total viewers.

Shock win for Moonlight? That’s an understatement if there ever was one. The award ceremony’s ridiculous ending gave Trump the opportunity to make an accurate observation:

Trump told Breitbart News in the exclusive interview that the Oscar fail may have been avoided had Hollywood’s finest focused less on attacking him and more on getting the event’s details right.

Sounds right to me.

Between the ratings decline and best movie meltdown, Hollywood woke up this morning in a world of hurt.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer industry.

 

The resentment of the feminist artist

The National Museum of Women in the Arts recently finished an exhibit entitled “No Man’s Land”. As the blog Goodbye, America puts it:

Female artists all seem to focus their works on the female body. For a slice of the female demographic that hates objectification, they sure have a weird way of expressing their resentment.

Personally, I’m disappointed both in the extent of resentment in contemporary feminist art, and the fact that the museum held the exhibit in the first place.

I visited the museum when it first opened. Its first exhibit was “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea”. It was a beautiful discussion of how Mary was portrayed throughout history. Here’s a detail from “Virgin and Child” by Elisabetta Sirani (1663).

I remember being in the museum’s gift shop buying something from the exhibit. The female cashier clearly gave me the impression that she did not want to deal with me.

Something tells me that the most recent exhibit reflects more accurately her worldview than the first one.

 

 

 

The Madness of Sanity

What is the point of trying to remain sane when the world has gone mad?

The madness of post-9/11 America was bad enough before the 2016 election. However, ever since the American electorate decided not to coronate Hillary Clinton as its first queen, the left has spun itself into levels of delusion the likes of which the most imaginative cynic could not have contemplated.

To stay sane in times like these not only feel like a neverending battle, but a losing one as well. To provide some context on where I’m coming from, I would like to highlight a couple of examples.

Seeing peace where there is none

To begin, let’s look at one aspect of the shocked reaction among so many on the left to Trump’s comments about violence occurring in Sweden.

This is what Trump said at a recent rally:

”We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible,”

In response, CNN created a video in which it claims that “there were no reported terror attacks in Sweden on Friday”. But Trump didn’t say anything about terror attacks. Trump then tweeted where he received the information:

In response to Trump’s remarks, the left went nuts, but none more than former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt:

A New York Times article provided Bildt an opportunity to expand on his reaction to Trump’s remarks:

“We are used to seeing the president of the U.S. as one of the most well-informed persons in the world, also well aware of the importance of what he says,” Carl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden, said by email on Monday. “And then, suddenly, we see him engaging in misinformation and slander against a truly friendly country, obviously relying on sources of a quality that at best could be described as dubious.”

I honestly don’t know what makes Bildt look more clueless: calling Trump’s remarks misinformed while riots continued to occur in Sweden, or his characterizing previous American presidents as well-informed. After all, it was in his country where Barack Obama, who became the first president in American history to have been at war during his entire time in office, and whose foreign policies contributed to the very refugee problem Sweden is currently struggling with, received the Nobel Peace Prize.

According to statistics analyzed by the Sydsvenskan newspaper, Malmo has a “murder index” of 3.4 when homicides for one hundred thousand inhabitants are taken into account, a “a very high figure” according to the report.

This compares to bigger but less dangerous cities in western Europe like Paris (1.8), London (1.3), Copenhagen (1.1) and Berlin (1.0).

Having recorded 11 murders in 2016, Malmo is easily the most dangerous city in the entire Nordic region.

Mass riots, torching of vehicles and sexual assaults have become routine in Malmo and other cities since Sweden opened its doors to mass immigration. The influx of new migrants as a result of the refugee crisis has only made the situation worse.

The situation in Sweden is so dire that even some Somali immigrants are considering returning home, saying that areas of some Swedish cities are more dangerous than their notorious homeland.

Malmo is the perfect example of what happens when mass immigration is allowed to swamp a city. Malmo is now known as “Sweden’s Chicago”.

43% of the population are from a foreign background, with the largest contingent of immigrants coming from Iraq.

When political leaders speak as if none of these horrible things have happened, is it any wonder that the nightmares continue?

I’m still with her

Meanwhile, the Daily Caller found a website that posts articles as if Hillary Clinton actually won the election:

Liberals seeking refuge from reality now have a fake news website where they can pretend to live in a world where Hillary Clinton is president.

“Approval ratings for President Clinton hit 89 percent,” “Confused by fake news, Redditers think Trump is president” and “DOJ considers charging Trump with treason” are just a few headlines featured on HillaryBeatTrump.org, a satirical news site devoted to covering stories from an alternate universe where Hillary won last November’s election.

The site describes its purpose thusly:

In the midst of a Constitutional crisis, this is our response.

Long live the true president,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

While this site can be rightfully mocked, there are some others who have responded far differently:

How does one interact with people who would rather live in their fantasy world, rather than deal with the world as it is?

What do we do?

When the world feels like it has gone this mad for this long, it would be easy, and frankly understandable, to give up hope that some form of sanity can ever be recovered. I confess that over the past few years, there have been several times where I found it extremely difficult to be optimistic about the future. As Professor CJ of the Dangerous History podcast puts it, we seem to be entering into a new Dark Age.

However, I’ve come to the realization that it is dangerous to your soul to live without hope. Without hope, why is there any reason for living? But that thought leads to a natural question: how do we live with hope while dealing with the madness surrounding us?

Simply put, we need to make sure that Truth is the most important thing in our lives. If we interact with others the same way we ourselves want to be treated, honestly and respectfully, that will reinforce those virtues in the little worlds in which we live.

A critical element of the Truth is to recognize that what we see is not everything that exists. To paraphrase Hamlet, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in anyone’s philosophy. Everything, both natural and supernatural, came from something, or rather, someone, and that someone is God.

Furthermore, to know that not only God exists, but His Son came so that we may be with Him throughout eternity, can only lead his followers to act with strength and courage. After all, Jesus was cruelly beaten and killed on a cross, the most gruesome torture instrument the Romans could conceive of. And yet he rose from the dead. If death can not keep him down, what can? And if people follow his lead, what is there for them to be afraid of?

Regardless of whatever happens in this nutty world, Truth shall always exist. It will not change. It will not be conquered by some mere creature. It will always be there.

If we always remember this, we might, just might, get out of this world alive.

And sane.

 

Is SNL Becoming The Monster’s Playground?

On the surface, SNL is just another comedy show. A standard feature of the show is the opening segment, which usually pokes fun at the current president. Every once in a while, that segment is pretty funny, and is viewed extensively on YouTube.

However, over the past several years, two things have happened to the show. First, its comedy has become increasingly captured by the left. The routines are oftentimes premised on a progressive worldview. Second, SNL has become less and less funny, and sometimes downright boring.

Coincidence?

Usually, an election year and a president’s first year is fodder for comedians. There’s so much good material created during the campaign, the biggest challenge is figuring out what to focus on.

However, during this election, it quickly became clear that SNL made a conscious decision to ridicule Trump and softly promote Hillary. Sure, the show poked fun at her from time to time, but its vitriol was directly squarely at The Donald through Alec Baldwin. Sometimes he was funny, but more times than not he played Trump in a manner so that SNL’s liberal audience could laugh at their representation of Trump, rather than what he actually did.

Then came the election, and the liberal pandemonium that followed.

The show immediately after the election opened in a manner reminiscent of what it did after 9/11. Rather than a raucaus opening, it began quietly with Kate McCinnon, in her role as Hillary Clinton, playing the piano and singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. (Cohen had died earlier in the week.)

McCinnon closed the segment by stating, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”

Why would SNL open the same way it did after 9/11?

Because its audience equated the two events as the two most terrible moments in their lives.

(h/t Daily Caller for the tweets)

People who watched the song on YouTube were grateful for SNL opening the show the way it did. Here are some comments:

Thank you SNL for this moment of grace and healing.

Guys, remember that this is an LGBT woman, who just learned that Trump and Pence, two mysoginistic homophobes, are in charge of her rights. Think about what is about to be taken away from her. Then listen to what she says. “I’m not giving up, and neither should you”. She’s not just speaking for Hillary. She’s standing up for herself, for all of us. Kate, thank you for fighting for me.

Wow. I felt actual pain when I saw the tears in her eyes because I can’t help her get through the next 4 years with a racist, sexist HOMOPHOBIC cunt for president. I love her too much to see her cry. 😭😭😭🔥🇺🇸

Perfect and poignant. Captured the mood of the country.

I can’not think of a more beautiful, fitting, and sad tribute for the loss of a brilliant musician and, for 50% of us, the loss of a critical election Personally I found it to be one of the most profound moments in television since the coverage of 9/11 and all of the awful mass shootings of the past several years. To me, the sketch was in part a tribute to Leonard Cohen, the feelings of Hillary Clinton through the voice of Kate McKinnon (who could barely and understandably stay in character), and most of all, a statement expressing the shock, devastation, anger, and fear that many of us feel. I’ve never posted to a website before and I’ve never been politically active. That ended for me early Wednesday morning. For those of you that agree with me I urge you all to peacefully but firmly make your voices heard, fight for what is right, and take nothing for granted.

By opening this show in the manner it did, SNL made a very clear statement: from now on, the show is made by progressives, for progressives.

And no one else.

Meanwhile, the Demonization of the Donald continues.

Alec Baldwin has a guaranteed four years of income as he keeps playing Trump. And Melissa McCarthy took up the role of White House press secretary Sean Spice just last week. (Although I have to admit that her characterization of Spice and comedic timing is top notch.)

However, is it possible that SNL may be harpooning yet another figure in the Trump administration?

Brietbard reports that Rosie O’Donnell has updated her profile picture on Twitter in an apparent attempt to convince SNL that she should play Trump advisor Steve Barron on it.

“I am here to serve,” O’Donnell wrote on Twitter on Tuesday when asked if she was willing to take a turn as Bannon on SNL. “Alec has trump – melissa has spice – i would need a few days to prepare – so if called – i will be ready.”

Neither SNL or the long-running show’s creator Lorne Michaels have commented on whether or not fans can expect to see O’Donnell as Bannon.

On the one hand, Rosie’s mashing of her face into Bannon’s is amusing. Unfortunately, when connected with what else has been going on at SNL, one can also see a far more menacing undertone.

Rather than merely making fun of another president, SNL is clearly taking aim at the Trump administration. If it decides to bring O’Donnell on, it will have at least three caricatures with which to play on its show. Its increasingly progressive audience will expect nothing less than the show demonizing and mocking Trump and his goons for the crimes for which they are guilty in the audiences’ minds.

What is dangerous about this set up is SNL could fan the ideological flames burning within its audience, at the possible expense of any hope genuine dialogue that could take place among Trump and progressives. After all, they’ve got a President whose lips stick out like a baboon’s ass and a press secretary whose temper makes Trump’s behavior akin to that of the Virgin Mary.

And if O’Donnell came on, how would they protray Bannon? While I don’t know, we could take a hint from Time’s most recent cover:

Bannon

The Great Manipulator. How intriguing! How diabolical!

Can you imagine O’Donnell playing him looking like a grand chessmaster, under subdued lighting, carefully evaluating the next move to elevate Trump and crush his enemies?

We find ourselves in a frightening situation in which SNL could help create an environment in which it feeds its progressive audience the message it wants to hear: that Donald Trump is an illegitimate president, who must be removed at all costs. Its opening segment could become the very playground in the next progressive narrative is described so that its adherents may unleash their fury on those who deserve it.

Yet as the jester in Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame asks, “what makes a monster, and what makes a man?” Are Trump and his colleagues the monsters progressives make them out to be, or perhaps are the monsters somewhere else?

One of the greatest insights Rene Girard made about human psychology is how the rivarly between people seeking to satiate their needs to obtain a common desire leads to conflict, and if not resolved peacefully, violence. When those who fail to obtain that desire see their more successful rivals holding the very thing they want, they fall into such a rage that they see their rivals as their monstrous double. Girard explains the phenomenon in Violence and the Sacred:

In the collective experience of the monstrous double the differences are not eliminated, but muddied and confused. All the doubles are interchangeable, although their basic similarity is never formally acknowledged. They thus occupy the equivocal middle ground between difference and unity that is indispensable to the process of sacrificial substitution – to the polarization of violence onto a single victim who substitutes for all the others. The monstrous double gives the antagonists, incapable of perceiving that nothing actually stands between them (or their reconciliation), precisely what they need to arrive at the compromise that involves unanimity minus the victim of the generative expulsion. The monstrous double, all monstrous doubles in the person of one … becomes the object of unanimous violence.

We can now appreciate the atmosphere of terror and hallucination that accompanies the primordial religious experience. When violent hysteria reaches a peak the monstrous double looms up everywhere at once. The decisive act of violence is directed against this awesome vision of evil and at the same time sponsored by it. The turmoil then gives way to calm; hallucinations vanish, and the detente that follows only heightens the mystery of the whole process. In an instant all extremes have met, all differences fused; superhuman exemplars of violence and peace have in that instant coincided. Modern pathological experiences offer no such catharsis; but although religious and pathological experiences cannot be equated, they share certain similarities. (pp. 170-171)

While SNL and its actors claim to hate Trump and what he stands for, their rage over his victory has led them to emulate him. In other words, they have become monstrous doubles of their enemy. Unless someone pulls themselves out of the madness, the only resolution to this conflict is war, until only one side remains.

St. Michael, pray for us!

 

The campus leftists’ continued assault on logic and speech

Why should colleges exist if its students lose the ability to think?

That is the only question I find myself asking after reviewing the waste land college campuses have become. This post highlights two examples of this toxic landscape.

Violence as self-defense

To begin, there is the case of some … curious op-ed articles written in the Daily California, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, in response to the cancellation of Milo Yiannopolis’s appearance on that campus. (h/t Rod Dreher)

The following pieces were published under the heading, Violence as Self-Defense:

I would like to highlight one article to reflect the American Maoism permeating current leftist thought.

In “Violence helped ensure safety of students”, Juan Prieto, a UC Berkeley student who is also an illegal alien, writes:

I’m here to thank the radical measures the AntiFas took to ensure my safety. It has been reported by numerous sources that Breitbart’s mascot planned on launching a campaign against undocumented students and sanctuary campuses. More disturbing was the possibility of him outing and targeting specific undocumented students on campus, much like he did to a trans student at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

As repellant as it is to thank AntiFas for the rioting, on the surface one can see where he is coming from. After all, while speaking at UC Milwaukee, Milo did out a transsexual student.

However, there is no evidence that Milo planned to “out” undocumented students. Such a story, however, serves as a convenient cover for justifying pepper spraying a woman wearing a red hat, beating a man unconscious, and destroying school property.

Furthermore, Prieto can’t have his cake and eat it too. On the one hand, he identifies himself in the article as “an outspoken undocumented student at UC Berkeley”. On the other hand, he is outraged when he is “doxed” (or maliciously “outed”) by sites that don’t like him.

(Perhaps he is upset because the doxing article referred to an opinion piece in which he proclaims “no, I’m not registered to vote. I’m registered to fuck shit up.”)

Well, which is it? Are you outspoken, or are you minding your own business? You can’t be both.

Regardless, the violence was acceptable because Milo is a white supremacist:

The doxing the Breitbart editor attempted to do was a malicious outing of some of my peers to a physical and online audience of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and alternative right fascists. Though he has attempted to keep his name away from these gangs of extremists, it’s not difficult to associate him with them given that they utilize his events to recruit and organize the most hateful group of white men they can gather. Given that a radicalized white man had recently committed acts of terrorism against the Muslim community at a Mosque in Quebec, and another shot an anti-Fascist protester at the University of Washington, placing our private information on their hands shook me to my core.

Notice how uncleverly he attempts to demonize Milo by associating him with white supremacists et. al. while acknowledging that Milo has stated repeatedly he doesn’t belong to them. Again, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Unless, of course, you’re an American Maoist, in which case all that matters is that your enemy is annhilated, by hook or by crook.

 

I have the right to tell you to tell remain silent

Meanwhile, Reason’s Hit and Run blog points to a disturbing Foundation for Individual Rights in Education report on the use “Bias Response Teams” (BRTs) on college campuses:

BRTs encourage students to formally report on one another and on faculty members whenever they subjectively perceive that someone’s speech is “biased.” FIRE’s 2017 Bias Response Team Report identified 232 public and private American colleges and universities that publicly maintained bias response programs during the course of 2016, affecting an estimated 2.8 million students.

In fact, FIRE learned that of the 167 BRTs it studied, 42 percent of them include police officers as part of their team!

 

The presence of these teams have led to effects that can only be characterized as childish and silly:

At the University of Oregon, someone reported a cafeteria poster asking students to clean up after themselves to the BRT because it was “sexist”. (The poster presumably said something like, your mother isn’t here to do your dishes for you.) A staff member who made “gender-based comments” was referred to Sexual Violence Support services. And the student newspaper’s insufficient commitment to transgender issues earned it a talking-to from university officials.

I fight because I can’t argue

These two examples illuminate a simple yet shocking fact: the left shuts shut down speech, either through bureaucracy or the mob, because it has nothing else to maintain its power. Its arguments don’t work anymore. All it has left is force.

The left threw everything it could at Trump, yet he won anyways. The more they flail, the more everyday Americans are repulsed by them.

Regardless of what people may think of Trump or Milo, the left’s overreaction to them have merely made those two more popular. That merely feeds into a vicious cycle that could lead to the left becoming increasingly violent.

Whether that will actually take place remains to be seen. However, one thing is for sure. The election of Trump has led to the left slowly lifting the veil that has covered the movement for decades.

And it ain’t pretty.

 

ZeroHedge: Media Launches “Full Frontal” Cover Attack On Trump Administration

ZeroHedge observed that this week’s covers of Bloomberg Businessweek, Time, and The Economist are clear attacks on the Trump Administration.

The last one is cute, given what just happened in Berkeley last night.

So much for these magazines following the sage advice of Reuters:

  • Cover what matters in people’s lives and provide them the facts they need to make better decisions.
  • Get out into the country and learn more about how people live, what they think, what helps and hurts them, and how the government and its actions appear to them, not to us.

What’s fascinating is that these magazines are leading a losing battle. They’re fighting ferociously over a declining audience that will trust them less and less as they continue to demonize Trump. Eventually the media companies will need to decide what to do, because all of them won’t be able to survive.