How pervasive is right-wing media? ~45 million uniques

This post will attempt to quantify the right-wing media circus.  If you think Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are the 800-pound gorillas in the room, then I’d like to introduce you to Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, the Daily Caller, Steven Crowder, Mark Dice and Jordan Peterson, among many many others less gargantuan, but still dangerous chaos-provoking primates.

Only 2.3 million people watch Fox News in a given weeknight during primetime (Nielson, June 2018).  The vast majority of conservative media is consumed on several mediums. For example, 14 million unique listeners per week for Rush Limbaugh (Talker, June 2018), 16 million Facebook engagements per month for The Daily Wire (Newswhip, June 2018), 15 million unique monthly visitors to the Drudge Report (Quantcast, June 2018), and on and on.

Below are some numbers to help frame (*very roughly*) how many unique people consume conservative media in a given day / week / month.  I did not account for the frequency in which they consume – impossible to tell – but I do not believe this matters all that much. Whether a casual or obsessive consumer of conservative media, the idea one simply consumes signals a willingness to buy what they’re selling.  In some instances, I provided liberal / mainstream / celebrities as comparison. My estimation below is 45 million + people. It’s very very rough (lots of immeasurable assumptions), but a good start.

Of course there are plenty of conservative media trolls I’ve left off these lists, but I’ve included most, if not all, of the most popular.  The smaller voices are inconsequential in measuring conservative reach.  They likely all overlap with the the more popular outlets.

If Nixon had Fox News, he would not have likely been impeached

To piggy back off of former WH counsel, John Dean, Richard Nixon would likely not have been impeached if he had the benefit of Fox News (and the vast right-wing media circus). I am operating under the assumption that Nixon had no such dominant popular mouthpiece.

For starters, the Watergate investigations dragged on for 928 days. Over that more than two and half year period, public support for Nixon deteriorated (from 70% to 24%) and for his impeachment increased steadily (from 19% to 57%).

Conversely, we have so far seen the opposite for the Russia probe, an intensely more serious crime against the Democratic Party and our country. I will not elaborate on the differences between the two and how the latter is far more serious, but it is important to note that right-wing media downplays the Russia probe so dramatically as to – in the minds of their viewers – lay waste to the idea this is even something we should be concerned about.  “You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election,” mouthed leather faced marmot Gregg Jarrett. This would make 25% of people in this country stop reading this piece immediately, as they *sincerely* do not believe any of it (thanks Fox News!).

Now, if these right wing media consuming folks were simply relegated to a corner of society in their hardened bubbles, this may be an easier exercise. Problem is, there are a lot of “independents” and generally underinformed folks who consume the fighting between Trump / GOP / right wing media and the “liberal” media and Democrats. They, crucially, have been neutralized. Contributing to the problem is the all-time post-Great-Depression low lack of trust in media and government (more on this in a later post). Nixon gave speeches, Halderman, Erlichman, Ailes (Roger began with Nixon) planted stories and smeared the “liberal” media “Long before Fox News, before Ailes and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, there was a conservative media complex in the United States refining a theory of liberal media bias” (from Gabe Sherman’s book, “The Loudest Voice in the Voice in the Room”), but this was nothing like it is today.  The reach and fiction material has reached peak level propaganda.

For example, President Trump’s approval rating has steadily increased and public perception of the Russia probe has steadily decreased since beginning only 1 year and 2 months ago. We’ve had numerous hearings, admissions, guilty pleas, lies, omissions, you name it, and yet…

Amazingly, his approval rating has gone up (slightly) and American’s views of the probe have deteriorated despite all of the aforementioned, particularly among Republicans and, somewhat modestly, independents.  The daily onslaught of anti-Russia probe news from right wing media is surely to explain at least the Republican opinion shifting and like the independent, low information voters.

Here’s a little taste