Skip to main content

Is ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ driving MSM ratings down?

Written By | Dec 25, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., December 16, 2016 — “’Trump Derangement Syndrome’: A mental dysfunction causing those detractors with hateful thoughts and feelings about Donald Trump to go unhinged.” That’s how this timely term is defined in an Urban Dictionary entry dated March 18, 2016.

The definition continues: “The great thing about Donald Trump becoming the next President of the United States is a lot of those establishment folks who suffer Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) will go insane.”

As the Mainstream Media (MSM) allegedly seeks answers to November’s nationwide rout of the Democrats, their ongoing battle with President-elect Donald Trump provides them with a ready target since Trump continues to bait them and call them out more or less non-stop. In his ongoing, post-election “Thank You Tour” across states that put him over the Election 2016 Finish Line.

At each “Thank You” event, he labels the MSM as “liars,” bypasses them with off-the-cuff tweets, and keeps on eschewing political correctness, most recently by weaponizing the once-festive and traditional American seasonal greeting, “Merry Christmas.” Simultaneously, and to the continued delight of Trump supporters, the forgotten men and women who’ve been dismissed and marginalized by the self-same so-called “elites,” the MSM’s apoplexy seems to grow stronger by the day.

The Fourth Estate: Will Trump ditch the mainstream media?

Almost as one, and with astonishing speed, half of the nation has reclaimed their positive, traditional version of America back from the left’s intimidating cliff of ‘safe spaces,’ professional victims and the soft bigotry of low expectations. Not stopping at electing Trump as their president, they’ve also seen fit to give the new president his own Republican Congress, guaranteeing him an extended honeymoon period, the better to help him “Make America Great Again.”

As the stock market booms and America’s real best and the brightest beat a path to the Trump Tower, the MSM is still struggling to catch its collective breath. Having aggressively taken the wrong side in the national election and promoting and counting on a Clinton victory to cement their perceived dominance over the information Americans receive, the MSM unexpectedly finds itself in tatters this December and they and the Democrats are still searching for anyone to blame but themselves. As a result, MSM revenues, viewership, and readership are continuing to plummet.

As self-appointed arbiters of what America should think, MSM has fallen from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the canyon. They’ll be lucky even to retain their long-standing gold-plated seats in the White House Press Corps.

Change is in the air, and, as normal working Americans so often experience in downsizing corporations, the MSM’s stature and indeed their very existence and stature are at risk. Stated more bluntly, their ox is being gored. They’re bleeding out to the point where their very survival is occupying all their attention, driving them still further away from J-school reporting standards. But their myriad excuses for their current problems may now be taking a back seat to the overwhelming evidence that the American public has finally caught on to their deceptive and biased reporting.

During the presidential election, Wikileaks’ publication of John Podesta’s, Hillary Clinton’s and the DNC’s emails, were consistently downplayed by the MSM. Despite their best attempts, however, the unethical collusion between the Clinton campaign and the MSM was made public, big time.

Summary dismissals of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz and now former CNN commentator (and current DNC Interim Chair (Donna Brazil) revealed less than stellar ethics in the Democrat camp. And the MSM’s attempts to downplay it all revealed them to be not much better than Soviet-style political propagandists.

Just exactly who or what is the “mainstream media”

Could the MSM’s Trump Derangement Syndrome—still going strong—be playing a role in their ongoing ratings drop? The so-called national media—primarily CNN (aka, the ‘Clinton News Network’), MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC and HLN all have all experienced declines in the Nielsens. Though proclaiming suspicious subscription increases recently, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the LA Times saw their circulation numbers steadily erode during the national campaign. Tellingly, the New York Times has just announced they’ll be vacating 8 entire floors in their own building after the first of the New Year.

Meanwhile, the generally Trump-friendly Fox News has seen its viewership continue to rise.

CNN and FOX News:

On July 1, Trump supporters launched a #BlackOutCNN campaign to boycott the biased liberal propaganda machines. A chart posted by Truthfeed demonstrated the apparent effectiveness of this summer boycott:

Image via

Meanwhile, on September 21, Breitbart’s Adelle Nazarian reported

“Fox News finished in first place for the fifth consecutive week, securing its place as the number one news network on cable, beating out CNN and MSNBC combined in both the number of total viewers and primetime viewers.”

“Fox News finished number one in the number of total day viewers for 11 of the past 12 weeks, including for the week of September 12. MSNBC and CNN failed to crack the Top 10 networks among total day viewers, with MSNBC drawing in 656,000 viewers and CNN with 651,000 compared to Fox’s 1.4 million. Combined, MSNBC and CNN garnered 1.3 million viewers.”

On December 15, Fortune’s Tom Huddleston, Jr., reported the presidential election translated into huge cable news ratings figures, detailing the specifics to prove his point:

“Fox News . . . saw its best annual ratings ever, topping not only all of its fellow cable news channels but also every other basic cable network in the process.

“On Thursday, the news channel celebrated a record year that saw the 21st Century Fox-owned network claim the crown as the most-watched basic cable network, both in terms of average primetime and full-day viewers, according to year-end Nielsen figures.

“Fox News’ final primetime numbers represented a 36% bump over 2015, good for a fifth place finish overall in primetime ratings, averaging 2.4 million nightly viewers, behind only the ‘Big Four’ networks: NBC (7.2 million), CBS (7 million), ABC (5.1 million), and Fox (4 million).

“Fox News’ surge was even more impressive since it beat the primetime averages posted by rival networks CNN (1.27 million) and MSNBC (1.09 million) combined. And that’s after both CNN and MSNBC also rode their election coverage to increases in their primetime viewership as well. CNN’s primetime ratings went up 79% over the previous year, while MSNBC jumped by 89%.”

Main stream media dies November 9, 2016: Rest in Peace

Is ‘Fake News’ the culprit?

On November 29, the Kansas Policy Institute’s Dave Trabert posted an article entitled “Media’s Hypercritical Tizzy Over Fake News.” Trabert noted BuzzFeed’s report that fake news stories on the presidential election outperformed real news on Facebook, observing “…mainstream media, including CBS News, jumped all over it. Even President Obama chimed in, saying that fake news “threatens democracy,” apparently believing his notorious pronouncement, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” didn’t count as ‘fake news.’

Trabert adds, “Media also fakes the news by declining to report facts that refute the narrative touted by special interests or their own editorial positions.”

Republicans’ political pronouncements have routinely been challenged by the MSM, some eighty percent of whom allegedly vote Democratic. Somehow, the irreverent and spontaneous Donald J. Trump managed to break through Republicans’ traditional stuffiness and their longtime habit of caving to the politically correct sensitivities of their liberal opponents.

Trump’s brash populism and his unapologetic “America First” stance crashed through the delicate sensitivities of the waning MSM. As Americans grow to understand the President-elect’s manner, the MSM would be well-advised to lay off the sneering and sniping and come along to the party. The increasingly repressive social culture over which they have so arrogantly presided over the past decade and more, may be changing before their eyes.

With Trump’s “Lead, follow, or get out of the way” style, a perpetually judgmental and aggrieved MSM should look within themselves and resolve to ease up on their nonstop fake outrage over Trump’s victory. The results of the recent election, as well as their own declining revenues should give them a clue: Change or die.

*Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with LegalInsurrection.

Karen Hagestad Cacy

Karen Hagestad Cacy, of Colorado Springs, is a former Washington speechwriter and transportation lobbyist. Raised in Portland, Oregon, she holds a BA degree in Russian and Middle East Studies from Portland State University (and American University in Cairo.) Her four novels are available on She is also the author of two plays.