The inventory of fairly useless labels in modern journalism is both robust and accessible, labels such as “deep dive,” which, translated literally, means “look out, we might actually spend more than a minute or two on this story.”
Journalists designate a “deep dive” at their peril, of course, because many consumers of news still prefer the shallow end of the info pool, while the rest simply don’t have time.
It just so happens the term deep dive is now hopelessly misapplied. The real, tangible, measurable deep dive is in cable news ratings, which began to crash soon after the November elections and haven’t really stopped.
One industry tracker gauged Fox News viewership down 42 percent for the second quarter of 2021, MSNBC’s down 36 percent, and CNN’s down 57 percent. With deep dives like this, these networks might soon find themselves unable to afford any deep dives.
Cable news apathy is no one’s idea of a crisis. It’s probably closer to cathartic. The problem is that the decline in ratings is generating a proportional spike in scaremongering. Depressingly enough, it makes perfect sense.