Kavanaugh Crushes It for Conservative Websites and Helps Dramatically Boost Traffic

 By HOWARD POLSKIN, October 23, 2018

 It’s time for conservative websites to celebrate and crack open a keg of beer thanks to Brett Kavanaugh.

 Seventy percent of the conservative media outlets in TheRighting’s top 20 websites showed year-over-year increases in unique visitors for the month of September.  And four of those websites posted huge triple-digit percentage gains.  I attribute many of those gains to the contentious debate and coverage over the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. The story was covered extensively from all corners of the political spectrum, but right-wing media got largest rise in traffic, according to TheRighting’s analysis of comScore data.  (See September top 20 here.)

 Other issues also contributed to the heated September news environment including Nike’s release of the Colin Kaepernick television commercial, which ate up extensive digital real estate on conservative media outlets, as well as the publication of Bob Woodward’s latest nonfiction opus, a searing nonfiction portrayal of a White House in disarray and ruled by fear. 

 Conservative audiences flocked to right-wing websites not just for the latest news, gossip and innuendo, but also to gain perspective and analysis with red state flavoring.  Several liberal websites drew increased year-over-year traffic but they were overshadowed by the dramatic traffic increases produced a number of right-wing outlets.

 The Federalist generated a whopping 367% increase in September 2017 to September 2018 unique visitors, the highest percentage growth of any conservative website in TheRighting’s top 20.  In September 2017, The Federalist recorded 522,000 unique visitors; in September 2018, the number skyrocketed to 2,436,000 an increase of almost two million uniques. 

 The Gateway Pundit had a 217% year-over-year increase, followed by PJ Media (+135%) and Townhall (+110).  The Weekly Standard just missed a triple-digit increase, registering 99% growth vs. September 2017.  

 Foxnews.com led all conservative websites with 93,146,000 unique visitors, according to comScore, just a 4% increase.  However, that translated to 3,671,000 more unique visitors compared to September 2017, the most of any conservative website. 

 Liberal websites posted strong September traffic numbers but they really couldn’t measure up to the conservative figures.  The highest year-over-year percentage increases among the liberal sites tracked by TheRighting include Vox (82%), Daily Kos (48%), The Atlantic (20%), The Daily Beast (18%) and Slate (13%).  

 Mainstream news sites did not fare as well as ones that titled overtly left or right.  In fact, they had negative results in year-over-year unique visitors: The New York Times (-14%), The Washington Post (-10%) and CNN (-8%).  

 Are we to conclude from these figures that audiences are rejecting middle-of-the-road coverage? It’s too early to tell but I’ll be watching the figures carefully in the coming months.  It’s worth mentioning that a year ago, both The New York Times and The Washington Post had more unique visitors than Foxnews.com.  This September, Foxnews.com surpassed both mainstream news sites.  But CNN.com had more traffic than any news site tracked by TheRighting last month: 115,184,000.  

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