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Gaining Ground on The New Republic, The Nation, and Foreign Policy


At the end of November, I noted the remarkable increase in the readership of our webzine over the last couple of years, especially when compared with that of its competitors, both in the alternative and the more establishment opinion media. Three months later, I'm now pleased to say that these trends seem to have continued or even somewhat accelerated, particularly in the last month or so, with our publication easily breaking all-time traffic records for the last two weeks in a row.

Even back in November, our Alexa traffic rankings had placed us well above—in most cases far, far above—the overwhelming majority of alternative media publications despite our relatively recent appearance on the scene and our shoestring operation, together with the regular mistreatment we receive from Social Media giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

Leftwing Counterpunch was founded a quarter century ago and at the beginning of 2017 had nearly twice our traffic, but now our readership is 60% greater. The American Conservative is nearly two decades old, and in the last three years, our traffic rank has grown by over 50%, allowing us to easily overtake it. Founded a dozen years ago, rightwing Takimag still drew a somewhat larger audience in early 2017, but our relative traffic has grown by over 200% since then, and our current traffic is nearly three times as large as that other publication. Our relative performance over the last three years against these fairly prominent alternative media publications is illustrated by the following chart.

Despite numerous skeptics, I think we have proven that there really does seem to be a substantial audience for a publication providing a convenient home to both the Alt-Left and the Alt-Right, joint access to ideological extremists, conspiracy theorists, racialists, historical revisionists, and other miscellaneous malcontents, all the sorts of agitated and conflicting voices which would never be allowed within the ever-narrowing confines of our "legitimate media."

Moreover, I think the case for the success of our "open door" approach is considerably strengthened by the counterexamples of certain other publications.

For example, just in the last two years Counterpunch, once a mighty voice on the Alternative Left, has purged a very substantial number of its longtime writers who have always fallen outside the left-liberal mainstream, including Israel Shamir, Paul Craig Roberts, Mike Whitney, Diana Johnstone, Linh Dinh, C.J. Hopkins, and Andre Vltchek. These ongoing Counterpunch purges have not gone unnoticed among its former readership, and just a few days ago, the latest instance sparked an accusatory article and a couple of hundred angry comments on a website.

Given this unfortunate situation, we should not be too surprised that Counterpunch's Alexa traffic rank has plummeted by nearly 60% during this same period. After all, when nearly all the writers of a publication are required to conform to the ideological boundaries of The Nation, Mother Jones, and these days perhaps even the august New York Times, those vastly more powerful media organs begin to draw off more and more readers.

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