Variety reports on a “freefall” in political media traffic, with recent declines of up to 35% among major outlets. BNR is defying that trend. One important reason: We are the only media company with monthly reach in the seven figures covering Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in unapologetically positive terms and without the typical caveats, reservations or negative narratives.
A troubling phenomenon is plaguing the media industry: political traffic is tanking during a presidential cycle:
Millions of visitors to political websites vanished in April, after months of healthy growth fueled by the contentious 2016 election season. The drop, coming off record traffic numbers for many outlets in March, nailed political pubs of all persuasions, according to comScore data. Politico.com saw U.S. unique visitors drop 33%; TheHill.com fell 35%; Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller plummeted 43%; and ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight.com dropped 32%. Other political sites that saw steep drops in unique visitors for April, per comScore, included Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com (-17%), Daily Kos (-24%), Talking Points Memo (-29%), DrudgeReport.-com (-25%), The Nation (-18%), and the Weekly Standard (-32%).
Since last December, when our new editorial team took the reins of what was formerly Blue Nation Review, BNR has defied that trend with steady traffic growth and high levels of social media engagement. We attribute our success to our singular focus on establishing a media platform that Democrats trust, cutting through talking points, speaking from the heart, and challenging conventional wisdom.
In particular, our coverage of Hillary Clinton has stood apart for its passion, directness and willingness to counter pervasive storylines. We endorsed Hillary on January 22, and in the months since, we’ve published some of the most widely-disseminated content of the entire 2016 cycle, with our articles regularly receiving tens of thousands of social media shares.
This piece, Hillary Clinton Is One of the Most Ethical (and Most Lied About) Political Leaders in America, is closing in on 300,000 shares, making it among the top five most viral positive pieces about Hillary of 2016 — and surpassing shares of her New York Times endorsement.
What is most notable about our success is that other media outlets refuse to follow the same path, stuck on an endless loop of shop-worn storylines and frames that reinforce negative perceptions of Hillary.
Amazingly, they are ignoring the obvious fact that fair-minded coverage of Hillary is a recipe for success. After all, she has more voters than anyone in the race, so it’s only logical that ditching the negative memes would be a smart business move, not to mention the right thing to do.
A fascinating article by Conrad Lee for Parse.ly explains that while Donald Trump gets more coverage, Hillary actually drives more engagement:
On average, an article on Hillary Clinton receives six percent more page views than an article on Trump. Thus, Trump does not appear to be driving revenue.
Lee notes that coverage of Donald doesn’t drive social media or search referral traffic, either.
Our national media can’t seem to figure out the obvious: They are on the wrong side of history in their 2016 coverage. As has been documented by independent sources, Hillary continues to receive more negative coverage than any other candidate, including Donald, even though she has millions more votes than anyone in the race and her GOP rival is an unashamed bigot who lies and insults people on a daily basis.
It is truly mind-boggling that anyone in politics could get more negative coverage than Donald, but somehow our national media manage to give Hillary worse treatment.
Granted, there are many factors other than presidential reporting that go into the recent declines in media traffic. A study from News Whip found that Facebook engagement has seen a steep drop in the last 12 months. From July 2015 to April 2016, “likes” for the top 10 sites on Facebook declined by 55%, while “shares” fell 57% and comments by 64%.
Whatever the cause of the precipitous downturn in political media, the fact that BNR is bucking the trend is extremely gratifying and we thank our community for their continued engagement and support.
We know there is a strong desire for positive and fair Hillary coverage, especially in view of the fact that she is breaking barriers that have stood for nearly a quarter millennium. That we are the only outlet of our size and reach delivering that kind of coverage is something we’d like to change.
We invite the rest of the political media to follow our lead and reject tired anti-Hillary narratives. Stop rewarding conservative Clinton-bashers who constructed a toxic framework for Hillary coverage decades ago that remains operative to this day.
We know all media companies go through cycles, and we will face our own ups and downs, but let our current success be a model for how to cover Hillary and Donald in the coming five months.
[Melissa McEwan contributed to this article.]