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Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Why Did The MRC Kill CNS So Abruptly?

The Media Research Center's shutdown of was shocking but perhaps not surprising. The way it did it, though, may be even more shocking.

CNS was founded by the MRC in June 1998 -- meaning that it was killed two months short of its 25th anniversary. Most of the people working that at the time of its shutdown had been with theMRC for quite some time:

The only other major on-staff contributor, commentary editor Georgiana Constantin-Parke, had only been with CNS a few months before shutdown. The only person of this group of this group who appears to remain at the MRC is Bannister, who's still cranking out blogs under a severely depleted CNS nameplate at MRCTV. 

That means the others have apparently been relieved of their MRC jobs after years of employment -- and relived in a very rude and abrupt manner. Whatever happened at CNS happened quickly; there was no evidence of a impending shutdownbeforehand, with stories continuing to be posted as usual through April 20, when the site ceased being updated. Then, after being in stasis for a few days, it was abruptly wiped away, with the domain being redirected to the CNS page on MRCTV. An alert box on MRCTV -- which took a few days to become visible to all readers -- promised to create "a new conservative media platform" through the merger of CNS and MRCTV, but it still looks like rant-filled MRCTV with an added CNS box of Bannister blog posts. Hardly a new "media platform," and it speaks to the haste in which the dismantling of CNS was done.

Longtime MRC employees were summarily dismissed and their work erased (though we found an archived version of the CNS website that the MRC has not publicized). They were not allowed to say goodbye or to celebrate the work they did. Heck, the MRC couldn't even be bothered to issue a press release to announce the shutdown and thank those longtime staffers for their years of work (or even to explain their fate).

That tells us that something more is at play. Did someone at CNS do something that drew legal scrutiny? Is the MRC hard up for cash and desperate for places to cut? (According to the 2022 annual report, 13% of the MRC's budget was spent on CNS.) Is there a link between this and all the staffers fleeing the MRC to work for Fox News? Inquiring minds want to know. (Have a tip? Let us know.)

Despite the shocking treatment CNS got in being shut down so abruptly, it isn't surprising. Online metrics suggest that CNS' website traffic has been dropping over the past few months, its audience was aging, and other right-wing websites draw much more traffic. Also, having longtime employees running it meant that they may have been stuck in their old ways. It seemed to be caught between two worlds: It wasn't as nimble and aggressive as other right-wing "news" operations, yet its fuddy-duddiness wasn't used to its advantage, staying content to merely peddle right-wing talking points (and Ted Cruz press releases to help out Jeffrey's daughter, a Cruz staffer) instead of doing any sort of reporting that would boost its credibility.

Perhaps the biggest piece of evidence that the death of CNS was not a surprise: nobody seems to miss it. There are no news stories in other media about the shutdown -- not even in other right-wing media. The only place to have noted the shutdown is ... here.

The MRC spent millions of dollars over the past 25 years building a "news" operation and a brand that ultimately went for naught and was blown up quickly in a day. Doesn't seem like the way one should treat something so expensive.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 AM EDT

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