The death of BuzzFeed News occasioned media thinkpieces one of which actually claimed that its passing pulls down the curtain on the “2010 internet”.
BuzzFeed decided to create a digital news site in order for the cat gif/listicle site to be taken seriously. And for a while it was even though the only thing memorable that BuzzFeed News ever produced was the publication of the Steele dossier and a recent expose of TikTok’s lies about its China bosses. It was a waste of money that employed some media types in an era of easy money. After attempts to scale up, BuzzFeed has decided to use AI for content generation while jettisoning its pretense at seriousness.
Unlike Gawker, which did transform the media (for much worse) in terms of tactics and style, BuzzFeed was not influential. Its passing won’t even leave a mark.
So why does any of this even matter?
It matters because it marks the end of the for-profit lefty digital media model.
The lefty media consists of…
- Mainstream media TV and cable outlets that are prestige loss centers for much bigger companies like CNN, ABC News, NBC News, MSNBC, etc…
- Startup digital media news
The third category, that was once going to take over everything, is gone. The second category is on its way out. I won’t bore you with a recitation of the numbers for how everything but the New York Times and the Washington Post is on the verge of going out of business. The first category is a mixed bag. I suspect that the huge media companies focused on streaming will keep some sort of vestigial news operations going, but they will care less and less. And cut costs further the way Discovery did with CNN.
That takes us to the final category.
I’ve been predicting for a while that for-profit news will disappear leaving behind non-profits. This is something that no conservatives are talking about until it suddenly emerges and then everyone will be talked about.
The media is being slowly converted into a nonprofit operation. For-profit digital media offered the only meaningful alternative and it’s gone now. The future will be a handful of legacy outlets like the Washington Post or Time owned by billionaires who want their own platform and startups owned by other billionaires like The Intercept.
If you thought media bias was bad before, wait until the media is entirely funded by lefty donors.