Trump is right: The New York Times is failing financially

Perhaps distressed by the repeated use of "false" "and "untrue" in most articles bearing his name, Donald Trump struck back at the New York Times, saying:

The failing @nytimes has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!


...dwindling subscribers and readers. They got me wrong right from the beginning and still have not changed course, and never will.

To which the Times responded :

@realDonaldTrump Fact check: @nytimes subscribers & audience at all-time highs. Supporting independent journalism matters.

The Times is correct.  Subscribers and audience are at an all-time high.  Unfortunately, more and more of those subscribers are digital subscribers, who pay only a fraction of what print subscribers pay.  Furthermore, advertising revenues are way off, and the Times is laying off staff.

The New York Times Co reported a 95.7 fall in quarterly profit, hit by restructuring charges related to headcount reductions.

Net profit attributable to the newspaper publisher fell to $406,000, or break-even per share, in the third quarter, from $9.4 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell to $363.6 million from $367.4 million.

The company, struggling to transition to digital, said online ad revenues grew 21.5 percent and now account for more than 35 percent of its advertising receipts.

But that increase failed to offset an 18.5 percent drop in print ad revenues -- a situation faced by most traditional newspaper publishers.

The Times this year began a review of its newsroom of 1,300 to realign for the digital era, with a plan expected in the coming weeks.

So while the Times is technically correct, Donald Trump was correct in the larger sense that the Times is failing financially.  The Times is used to bullying Republican presidents, and rhetorically beating them into subservience, as it did with George W. Bush.  It doesn't know how to handle a president who fights back.  The Times can dish it out, accusing the president of lying, but it doesn't know how to take it when it faces the same accusations of lying.

Expect it to sink more and more into irrelevance as Trump's narrative, that the Times is "false news," becomes more accepted.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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