Trump Is Having a Bad Month

(Update: Shortly after I published this Iran launched an airstrike into Israel, and Israel vows to retaliate, which is what nobody but right-wing warmongers wanted.)

I’m not sure why I haven’t seen more reporting on this, but I stumbled into a mention buried deep in this column that there will be a hearing on the $175 million appeal bond issued by Knight Specialty Insurance. This hearing has been set for April 22, which is one week from this Monday, when jury selection begins regarding the criminal charges brought by the Manhattan D.A. Good times. It is possible that if the bond is rejected, Letitia James can start seizing Trump’s assets immediately. That’s assuming some judge doesn’t decide to cut Trump another break, of course.

Going back to this article — For all his bombast, Trump is plummeting – financially, legally and politically, by Lloyd Green — bascially, it says little has gone well for Trump these past few days. And see also Jonathan Martin, Trump the Front-runner? Not so fast. The general election polls are still alarming, with Trump slightly ahead in most of them, but the gap is closing, at least.

Something else I learned today, from Paul Farhi in The Atlantic: Right-Wing Media Are in Trouble.

As you may have heard, mainstream news organizations are facing a financial crisis. Many liberal publications have taken an even more severe beating. But the most dramatic declines over the past few years belong to conservative and right-wing sites. The flow of traffic to Donald Trump’s most loyal digital-media boosters isn’t just slowing, as in the rest of the industry; it’s utterly collapsing.

This past February, readership of the 10 largest conservative websites was down 40 percent compared with the same month in 2020, according to The Righting, a newsletter that uses monthly data from Comscore—essentially the Nielsen ratings of the internet—to track right-wing media. (February is the most recent month with available Comscore data.) Some of the bigger names in the field have been pummeled the hardest: The Daily Caller lost 57 percent of its audience; Drudge Report, the granddaddy of conservative aggregation, was down 81 percent; and The Federalist, founded just over a decade ago, lost a staggering 91 percent. (The site’s CEO and co-founder, Sean Davis, called that figure “laughably inaccurate” in an email but offered no further explanation.), by far the most popular conservative-news site, has fared better, losing “only” 22 percent of traffic, which translates to 23 million fewer monthly site visitors compared with four years ago.

According to the author, the main cause if this implosion was a change in Facebook algorithms.

Facebook apparently came to question the value of featuring news on its platform. In early 2018, it began deemphasizing news content, giving greater priority to content posted by friends and family members. In 2021, it tightened the tap a little further. This past February, it announced that it would do the same on Instagram and Threads. All of this monkeying with the internet’s plumbing drastically reduced the referral traffic flowing to news and commentary sites.

Changes in Google algorithms also reduced digital news consumption, but not as much.

These changes impacted all digital news sites, but for some reason it slammed right-wing sites more. This suggests a lot more of their traffic was driven by social media links and not by regular returning readers. And while readership of the big-mainstrem-media sites and liberal sites has somewhat recovered or at least has stabilized, with few exceptions right-wing sites are still struggling to adapt. The bad news seems to be that while viewership of the Gateway Pundit is down 62 percent (yay), right-wing podcasters like Steve Bannon are doing fine. And I assume right-wing talk radio is still out there, somewhere.

And I have no idea if Mahablog readership has changed. I used to be able to see how many people viewed the site every day, but that feature disappeared some time ago and I haven’t figured out how to get it back.

But be of good cheer, because the Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Leonard Leo. About time. Well, in fact, they subpoenaed him a few months ago, but I’m just now hearing about it. Of course, Leo assumes himself to be above accountability to any mere Congress.

The big-money rightwing donor Leonard Leo said he would not comply with a subpoena issued by the US Senate judiciary committee, as it investigates undisclosed gifts to conservative supreme court justices that have stoked an ethics crisis at a court already held in historically low public esteem.

Referring to Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who chairs the committee, Leo said: “I am not capitulating to his lawless support of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [a Democrat from Rhode Island] and the left’s dark money effort to silence and cancel political opposition.”

The “dark-money effort” was especially rich, coming from Leo. And Leo might want to check with Peter Navarro about how his four-month prison sentence, for ignoring a congressional subpoena, is going.

Finally, here’s an odd story — House Republicans fume over “messaging” votes by Andrew Solender at Axios.

The House Rules Committee’s schedule for next week consists entirely of a half dozen bills to prohibit the Energy Department from setting energy use standards for home appliances.

The Liberty in Laundry Act, the Refrigerator Freedom Act and the Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards, or SUDS, Act are among the bills.

There is no sign, however, of legislation to provide military aid to Ukraine, Israel or Taiwan, which some lawmakers have said they expect to come up for a vote next week.

I like the Refrigerator Freedom Act. The refrigerator in my apartment at random intervals toots out a noise that sounds somewhere between a tired bugle call and a foghorn. Maybe it wants to be set free.

The appliance bills have no chance in the Senate, and everybody knows that. They are pure “messaging,” to let the American people know what the Republican Party stands for, which apparently is major appliance personhood. But at least a handful of House Republicans are tired of “messaging” and want to, you know, do real things. Exactly what, I’m not sure. I doubt the House will get any more productive this year.

6 thoughts on “Trump Is Having a Bad Month

  1. Held my nose and paid for another year's extension on the Frigidaire warranty. Replacing it is not only costly, it's difficult. Hard to find one narrow enough.

  2. On the subject of bad news for Trump this month…  the USSC will hear arguments on Trump's presidential immunity – I think on the 28th. No one knows when the USSC will issue a ruling but I think the tea leaves will show this month that the discussion will be HOW to deny Trump's argument. (And how much delay that will cause.) 

    Also up in the next few days… Trump flagrantly violated the gag order by attacking Michael Cohen on TS. Judge Merchan has had time to consider what he will do when Trump tests him. This wasn't skirting the edges of the order – it was an in-your-face confrontation. I think Merchan will deal with it Monday, not ignore it. I'm not at all sure how. 

    •  I think Merchan will deal with it Monday, not ignore it. I'm not at all sure how. 

      The only way Merchan can effectively deal with Trump is to put his fat ass in jail for contempt. Issuing a monetary penalty will only serve to weaken the authority of the judge by making the judge appear reluctant to address a direct challenge to his authority and the rule of law. I believe more people will side with the judge for taking a firm stand against Trump's defiance to authority. If somebody doesn't put a stop to Trump's steamrolling of the law it will be game over for the rule of law.

  3. Laundry, refrigerators, dishwashers,,, but NOTHING to address that unjust plague on humanity of having to flush a toilet 15 – 20 times!

  4. Regarding Israel: I mentioned last week that the US can't just abandon Israel because there are enemies who would love to commit genocide if the US was going to stand by. We are seeing nuanced rejection of what the IDF and Netanyahu are doing in Gaza. Not just Biden but Chuck Schumer. Today the Israeli war council adjourned with no decision. Maybe they recognize that the Iron Curtain defense is working but there's reason to doubt the US will participate in or underwrite the cost of a war that Israel COULD avoid. A prolonged war with Iran won't be as fun as shooting unarmed civilians in Gaza. 

    I'm in favor of Biden turning up the volume in denouncing civilian deaths in Gaza.  But I also approve of Biden defending Jewish civilians in Israel. Biden needs to get the port open that we're building to send aid to Palestinians. We need to flood Gaza with food and medical supplies ASAP. We need to provide emergency shelters and construction materials for rebuilding. If Congress is concerned about cost, reduce military aid to Israel to a trickle until Gaza is stable. 

    Biden has had it with Netanyahu. The US is calling for elections in Israel because if there isn't sane leadership in Israel soon, there WILL be civilian casualties that make the last excursion by Hamas look like Girl Scouts selling cookies. 

    I think Netanyahu is, like Trump, willing to burn the country to the ground to escape a criminal conviction. Both lunatics have to go before it's too late.

  5. Thrilled that Israel's Iron Dome worked so well, otherwise the cry for revenge would ignite the whole region, to say nothing of causing big problems for Biden here at home.


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