‘Go woke, go broke’ proves true as NowThis News slashes staff

February 20, 2024

By Tim Worstall

NowThis News has just fired half its staff. The Intercept has also laid off a portion of theirs. This is lovely proof of that old idea, “Go woke, go broke.” 

As we’ve noted recently, NowThis – we’ll not worry about The Intercept, which has always been well out there – has been doing politics, not news. There’s nothing wrong with people doing politics — it is a vital part of protecting democracy. But doing it under the guise of being a news outlet doesn’t work. Soon enough, the audience catches on that they’re not being informed; they’re being propagandized to.

For example, and this is only a selection of things we’ve critiqued NowThis for, they claimed that the British Empire encouraged Jewish immigration into Palestine – when actually they tried to prevent it. Clearly running a pro-Democratic Party piece but just staying inside electoral law so that it doesn’t have to be counted as political spending. Claiming that only if we reformed Exxon would climate change be solved – when it’s actually 8 billion people who need to change. Claiming that “parental rights” are just rhetoric. Actually lying in a piece about abortion and trimesters and up to term. Insisting that school vouchers are about increasing segregation – when one of the main findings of the research is that it decreases it.

We do argue, have argued, against all of those points they’ve made. But the one here is a step up from that; it’s meta from that.

It’s just fine to be a political party arguing for or against something. It’s also fine to be a media outlet telling people the truth. But the mixture of both of them is something that doesn’t work. The more the political line is pushed, the fewer readers and the lower the audience for the political hectoring.

NowThis News lost money because it wasn’t doing news but pushing a political line. And political advertising is something you spend money on, not something you make money by doing.

“Go woke, go broke” is obviously true, and that’s what is killing many of these media outlets. But the background cause is that not many people want to be misled or misinformed in this way. The news is one thing, politics another. 

It’s also possible to put this another way. NowThis News is now half the size it was last week. This also means that the news media has less disinformation than it had last week.


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