The Washington Post has started layoffs and it isn’t pretty:
The Washington Post’s all-hands meeting turned chaotic Wednesday after the newspaper’s publisher announced looming layoffs – and then left the room as concerned employees shouted questions.
The Jeff Bezos-owned broadsheet will conduct a round of layoffs during the first quarter of 2023, publisher Fred Ryan announced during what was supposed to be an hour-long meeting.Thomas Barrabi, “Washington Post announces layoffs during tense town hall before publisher Fred Ryan storms out” at New York Post (December 14, 2022)
This follows the CNN layoff of hundreds of staffers, announced at the end of November and described as a gut punch to the organization. The laid-off include such figures as Chris Cillizza, Martin Savidge, Alex Field, Mary Anne Fox, and Alison Kosik.
The Post has lost half a million subscribers since early 2021.
But, as noted earlier, in the age of the internet, the principal purpose of mainstream media has changed. It now represents what the social and cultural elite wants the public to know, not particularly what the public wants to know. The public gets what it wants to know on the internet and TV — while retaining a superstitious reverence for iconic papers .like the Washington Post and the New York Times. But how long can that last?
Independent journalist Bari Weiss captured the change when she said, “To finally leave old media required me to confront some realities. Among them: The Washington Post is not the same place that broke Watergate, and The New York Times isn’t the same place that got the Pentagon Papers.”
It’s doubtful they could ever be that again. That’s not because they are more evil than before but because they are less necessary to the average citizen’s life, thus more easily captured by the elites and the activists. They no longer represent anyone else.
So obvious was the lie [that the laptop contents were Russian disinformation] that America’s biggest news organizations have to remain silent now because of their own complicity. What I wrote in week one remains true: “It ought to register with you how cravenly some in the mainstream media are trying to convince you something isn’t true that they know is true.”
So compromised are the national reporting staffs of the Washington Post, the New York Times and other outlets that they can’t be trusted on the biggest story of the day. A Jeff Bezos, say, would have to take a page from the CIA’s own history and recruit a “Team B” off-site from his Washington Post to investigate the laptop ruse, then require his newspaper to report the truth however discomfiting to its newsroom and leadership.Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., “Hunter Biden’s Laptop and 2020’s First Big Lie” at Wall Street Journal (December 13, 2022) (paywall)
What all that amounts to saying is that the MSM are no longer accountable to the public but rather to political forces that did not want them probing too deeply into what the laptop revealed about Hunter Biden’s family’s connections and business interests.
And it seems that some journalism schools are training young journalists to continue down this path. Consider, for example, The University of Missouri, which hosts a journalism school:
One of the top journalism schools in the country endorses restrictions on free speech. The University of Missouri’s School of Journalism currently enforces a sweeping newsroom diversity policy that aims to eradicate “reporting that is racist or sexist in fact or in connotation” and to “eliminate nationalistic, racist, sexist and other demeaning remarks . . . whether said in seriousness or jest.” The policy applies to the university’s six affiliated news outlets, which are often staffed by faculty and students.
When asked, the journalism school refused to provide any definitions or examples of a “demeaning” remark. But recent incidents suggest that university students and faculty can encounter severe repercussions if they criticize the Black Lives Matter movement, hang flags in support of the police, or challenge gender ideology. The School’s vaguely defined policy allows university faculty and administrators to enforce speech restrictions as they see fit.Neetu Arnold, “Like Professional, Like Student” at City Journal (December 14, 2022)
Realistically, there may not be jobs for the graduating students, the way things are going in the MSM. But then they may well become an aggrieved minority, anxious to hobble communications systems that have become or remained popular.
You may also wish to read: As the Twitter files drop, ponder the future of mainstream media. Mainstream media are largely ignoring the story for reasons that go to the heart of their own growing weakness and unstoppable decline. Journalism will never matter anywhere near as much to the MSM again as doing what their betters want. And they view those who follow the story as a threat.