America is learning to rebalance its news diet post-Trump

America is learning to rebalance its news diet post-Trump thumbnail

Nearly halfway through President Biden’s first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump’s once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country’s attention.

Driving the news: Nearly every big news site saw its traffic decline in February, compared to a tumultuous January that included the Capitol insurrection and Biden’s inauguration.

  • Publishers’ traffic was down across the board, and many major sites saw traffic dip more than 20%, according to data from traffic analytics company SimilarWeb.
  • Politics consumption dropped most dramatically, tumbling 28%.

Between the lines: Interest in the presidency, specifically, has taken a steep plunge.

  • There were three times as many stories written about about Trump in February of 2017 than about Biden last month, according to data from NewsWhip.
  • Biden was discussed on cable news for an estimated 1,836 minutes last month, according to the Stanford Cable TV News Analyzer. In February of Trump’s first year, he commanded an estimated 4,669 minutes on cable news.

Other stories — including GameStop stock and developments on the coronavirus vaccines — have driven higher interest than they could in a Trump-centric world.

  • Interest in finance and business coverage declined from January to February, but not nearly as steeply as political coverage, and February’s consumption trends were still higher than the average over the last three years.

What’s next: These dynamics could change if Trump inserts himself back in the news cycle. Nearly 7 million people watched President Trump’s speech at CPAC last Sunday, nearly rivaling the number of people that tuned into the Golden Globes later that evening.

  • Many of the pro-Trump sites that built massive audiences feeding false claims of a stolen election over the last few months are coming out of the Trump era with new and bigger audiences.
  • Newsmax’s February traffic was lower than January’s, but it was still up 179% compared to the daily average from the previous 3 years.
  • OANN jumped 157% and Gateway Pundit saw a 70% increase, per SimilarWeb. Data from Comscore shows similar trends.

The bottom line: News consumers have become desensitized to the level of drama they had come to expect from politics over the past four years.

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