"Zero Hedge is a model publisher for 21st C America. Be afraid."
The secret to success on American media is to run a fun house. Provide entertaining news that is irrelevant to our lives, and distorted to fit to our tribal truths. Few show this better than Zero Hedge (subject of several debunkings here). Investment success requires a hard and cold view of the world, uncontaminated by cant and ideology. Yet ZH provides a flow of cartoon-like stories (plus otherwise difficult to get research from the major Investment Banks and real-time news about breaking news). Its fantastic success both proves that the models of equity research and news publishing are broken (I do consulting in this field, providers refuse to see this as their business dwindles).
ZH is an ugly version of Wal-Mart or Amazon. It would be sad but insignificant if ZH was exceptional. But ZH is a model of successful web publishing, probably taking mindshare from mainstream providers of economic and market insights. I see websites using its methods proliferating in other fields. For example, geopolitics has become dominated by sites that provide a continuous stream of threat inflation as ludicrous as the worst of ZH.
I do not understand the causes of this trend, or what need these fill for their readers. I suspect (guess) that these provide entertainment and a feeling of engagement for the America’s outer party (managers and professionals). Since they’re largely passive, their distorted view of the world has no consequences for them. It makes them easy to manipulate, and erodes our collective ability to run America.
The 1% have reasons to despise us, and believe that they can better run the nation. We have the ability to prove them wrong, but lack only the will.