By Virginia Van Zandt

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump drew a media audience.

But that appeal has waned. Considerably. News consumers may have had their fill of the bombastic ex-president. That’s just one of the conclusions reached by research from my company, TheRighting, a media company that aggregates articles from various right-wing media outlets.

It found that millions of readers in August tuned out news about the nation’s political landscape — in part, due to fatigue about the intricate details of Trump’s nonstop legal soap opera. (The Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial will begin in Manhattan in October. The former president is also facing seven separate civil lawsuits for his role in inspiring the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, according to The New York Times, which said those closest to Trump expect more suits in the future.)

The research, based on Comscore data, discovered 90 percent of the conservative news websites in TheRighting’s top 20 chart lost year-over-year traffic in August 2022, compared to August 2021. 

But the falloff wasn’t just in conservative media. 

TheRighting’s research also found that many of the top mainstream and liberal-leaning sites experienced declines in traffic, including CNN (-16 percent), The Daily Beast (-23 percent) and The Washington Post (-16 percent). This was a surprising development, given the political events. 

It was assumed that news about the FBI’s August 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence — and its subsequent findings — would drive traffic as audiences sought analysis and context throughout the month.  

Previous dramatic political news developments have driven huge spikes in traffic to conservative and mainstream news sites, such as the 2018 hearings for the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the 2020 presidential election and the political implications of the COVID-19 crisis in the first half of 2020.

However, in large part, unique visitors to conservative-friendly social media sites sagged in August. Most notably, Parler, which appeared to be a fast-growing social platform a year ago. Parler saw unique visitors plummet 82 percent, continuing a downward trend.  Rumble (-24 percent) and MeWe (-33 percent) also stumbled in August. 

Only the Twitter-like Gettr saw year-over-year gains (+9 percent). 

The one big exception is Donald Trump’s Truth Social Platform. Launched in February, it saw unique visitors increase 60 percent. If Truth Social continues to add thousands of unique visitors, much as it’s done in the last several months, it will become the fastest-growing conservative-friendly social platform of 2022.  

While Foxnews.com remains the undisputed leader in traffic to right-wing news sites, year-over-year traffic continues to slide. Foxnews.com was down 21 percent in August, which marked the sixth straight month of declines.  

Still, the site attracted almost 72 million unique visitors, far ahead of the No. 2 conservative news site, The Epoch Times, which had 7.3 million unique visitors.  Foxnews.com rival CNN.com registered 116 million unique visitors in August. The New York Times attracted almost 88 million unique visitors, which was up 4 percent from August 2021. Slate site also posted an uptick, 6 percent, in August traffic. 

Each month, TheRighting, which has covered right-wing media since 2017, examines Comscore data on dozens of prominent conservative websites that post original content.  TheRighting ranks the top 20 conservative websites on the basis of unique visitors and also provides data on whether unique visitors have increased or decreased year-over-year.  

Howard Polskin is the President and Editor in Chief of TheRighting.  

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