CNN Ratings Take A Nosedive
Over time, the various news networks vie for the top ratings. The major players often rotate for the honor. But that is not what is happening to CNN. Ted Turner’s brainchild is in a freefall – unlike anything that we have seen in the past.
Before getting into the possible reasons, we need to take into consideration one overarching fact. CNN has lost 90 percent of its viewers in the past year – comparing the first week of January 2022 to the same time in 2021. Ouch! At this rate, the once king-of-the-hill cable news network will be competing with the second-tier platforms such as Newsmax and OAN.
While it is admittedly anecdotal, I have noticed a decline of CNN in all those waiting rooms, bars and restaurants. The principal benefactor appears to be FOX News – although MSNBC and even OAN have been breaking into that market.
The ratings should be alarming to CNN’s new owner, billionaire media mogul David Zaslav. Given the condition the Network was in at the time of the purchase, one could safely assume that there would be a shakeup of some sort. Zaslav did indicate that the job of newly named (November 2021) CNN President Jeff Zucker would be safe – despite the ratings plunge and the scandals that beset CNN in recent years.
CNN’s major domo, Chris Cuomo, got canned for using his position to aid his older brother, Governor Andrew Cuomo, deal with a number of sexual misconduct accusations. On the heels of that came some accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior by younger brother Chris. The Cuomo controversy has a long way to go since Chris is taking the Network to court over his firing.
One of Cuomo’s producers got embroiled in a bizarre sex scandal. He has been charged with offering to teach underage girls the techniques of sex – often with the consent and participation of the mother. A sexual guru, of sorts.
Don Lemon, Cuomo’s on-air nighttime bromance, is involved in a sexual assault charge. A young man has accused the late-night host of groping and shoving his hand down the guy’s pants – and repeatedly asking him if he likes doing … you know what. If not settled privately, that case will wind up in court.
In another embarrassing case, CNN’s political analyst Jeffery Toobin unwittingly engaged in an act of self-eroticism while on a Zoom conference call with fellow workers at The Atlantic. He was temporarily suspended from CNN but fired from The Atlantic.
CNN’s problem goes well beyond personnel acting badly. They seem to have a host of hosts who do not resonate well with the public. This includes weekend anchor Jim Acosta, the morning show’s Brianna Keiler, media commentator Brian Stelter and others.
There is always the issue of content. What was CNN reporting and how was it being received? The answer to the last part is easy. Not very well.
In offering my own evaluation of the three big cable news networks, I have always put CNN somewhere between FOX News and MSNBC – a bit closer to the latter. While MSNBC offers virtually no counterpoint to their 24/7 propaganda narratives – no guests with alternative viewpoints – CNN would occasionally have people with legitimately differing views. Not as balanced as FOX, but on some shows.
Michael Smerconish is arguably CNN’s most legitimate and fair-minded journalist/commentator – which may be why his show appears in the dead zone of Saturday morning.
AND NOW … the mighty and all-powerful Jeff Zucker bites the dust. According to the reports, he was let go after it was “discovered” during the Cuomo investigation of his “involvement” with a co-worker. Apparently, he was supposed to have reported the relationship to his bosses and he failed to do so.
This runs afoul of claims by CNN personnel that the relationship between Zucker and his co-worker has been an open secret for years. The excuse does not pass the smell test.
More likely the relationship provided a rationale for dumping Zucker. In many ways, it can be argued that he was the architect of CNN’s decline. For years, insiders had credited or criticized Zucker for shaping CNN into his own political likeness from his perch as CEO of NBCUniversal.
It is not going to be easy for CNN to gain altitude in the ratings, but it will be virtually impossible without a serious shakeup in both content and personalities. We may already be seeing the beginning of that with the curious departure of Zucker.
If CNN turns their freefall around, they will have to seriously look at why they are not trailing both FOX – the runaway top cable news network – and MSNBC, the voice of the radical left. The big mistake will be to double-down on the same format with the same philosophic lean. Doubling down on failure is not going to work.
To see what happens, you need to stay tuned, but not to CNN. You will not get the real story on their internal affairs from them.
So, there ‘tis.