Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The National Post sheds readers

In a six month period where some papers fell slightly, most had their numbers stay relatively static and some like The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail even posted modest gains, The National Post lost almost 30,000 readers. The drop of 10.7% over six months brought the numbers down for the whole industry as readers deserted the Post in droves.

Last May the Post ran a story that Iran was planning to force its Jewish population to wear identifying badges JUST LIKE THE NAZIS DID! It was a front page story with a breathless, even hysterical tone illustrated with a photo of European Jews under Hitler forced to wear the yellow stars.

Unable to withstand even the most basic of scrutiny the story was spotted as false within hours, here among other places. It still stalks the web as a news zombie, uncritically believed by the denser stratum of the wingnutosphere.

Media insiders have been predicting the Post's implosion for some time. It seems to keep staggering on, bleeding profusely, largely on the strength of the Financial Post section and some specific community coverage. They have some of the most extensive reporting on the Middle East for instance - from a very particular and peculiar perspective of course. Whether the National Post's already gushing open wound in CanWest's balance books can now withstand numbers going over a cliff like this is an open question. It was already close to being an expensive ideological vanity press, first for Conrad Black's sneering right wing bullying and then for the Asper's peculiar brand of neoconservative authoritarianism.

Viewed in context with the Conservatives continuing failure to get any long term inflation of their numbers into majority territory, the travails of the national newspaper arm of the Canadian conservative movement suggest an ideological movement in free fall.

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