The Washington Post was losing money and then its ship, the USS Trump, came in.
The Washington Post has racked up viral hit fake news stories backed by anonymous sources. And it’s paying off. The Post claimed a traffic increase of 50% at the end of last year with a 75% increase in new subscribers. Now the Post has hit $100 million in digital revenues and added hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers. All of this is quite a change from a few years ago when the Post was losing $50 million a year and Baron was talking about shrinking the newsroom.
Next year, the Post suffered an 85% earnings loss. Baron’s plan to save the paper had failed. Instead what made it a powerhouse again was the flow of anti-Trump hit pieces. As Baron euphemistically put it, “I think there’s a direct connection between investigative reporting and subscriptions.”
“The people who are subscribing clearly want us to do investigative reporting… that’s something they are willing to pay for,” he said. But he was playing coy. Those subscribers wanted anti-Trump hit pieces. . They expected the paper to bring down President Trump.
That’s what I wrote back in 2017. Now, like a drunk who won the lottery, the Bezos social justice rag is exactly where it started out. Read about it at its chief rival, the New York Times.
The Post’s business has stalled in the past year. As the breakneck news pace of the Trump administration faded away, readers have turned elsewhere, and the paper’s push to expand beyond Beltway coverage hasn’t compensated for the loss.
The organization is on track to lose money in 2022, after years of profitability, according to two people with knowledge of the company’s finances. The Post now has fewer than the three million paying digital subscribers it had hailed internally near the end of 2020, according to several people at the organization. Digital ad revenue generated by The Post fell to roughly $70 million during the first half of the year, about 15 percent lower than in the first half of 2021, according to an internal financial document reviewed by The New York Times.
The New York Times has no reason to gloat. The decline of the Post leaves it in the unchallenged position of a national paper, but its actual readership base is shrinking and the paper is profitable because it expanded into non-news offerings aimed at younger audiences, like Wordle. At this rate, the news division will end up in the position of CNN at Discovery, an unprofitable arm of the business that no one especially likes.
The Mar-a-Lago raid and a renewal of the Trump investigations aren’t just a gift to Biden and the Democrats, but to the media which desperately needs it.