According to cable ratings from the week of June 26-July 2, CNN’s viewership of its primetime shows was ranked significantly lower than its competitors like Fox News and MSNBC, which place first and second respectively. Clocking in at No. 10 on the list, CNN fell behind HGTV, Nick At Nite, History Channel, and ESPN.
CNN’s ratings nosedive corresponds with the network’s ongoing feud with President Donald Trump. Last week, Trump tweeted out a GIF of himself appearing to pummel a wrestler with CNN’s logo superimposed over the latter’s face. The network has covered the tweet nearly nonstop ever since. It also went after the Redditor who made the GIF and threatened to dox him unless he apologized and promised to never say anything CNN dislikes again — a move that drew much criticism and may have been illegal.
When asked for comment, CNN personality Chris Cillzza got right to the point:
Oh, wait–that was just Cillzza pulling a Lonely Island when he thought that Poland’s first lady gave Trump the cold shoulder, yet another meme spread by the intrepid forces at CNN that turned out to be less than accurate. Still, it’s illustrative of the troublesome troubles that the troubled network is facing. Getting killed in the ratings by that Marcel the Monkey episode of Friends is one thing–but Yogi Bear? Come on, dudes! That’s well-nigh impossible even if you’re trying to flop. It’s as if Jeff Zucker knows he’s going to get the sack after AT&T gobbles up Time Warner and so he’s trying to burn the joint down before he leaves. Either that, or he’s staging his Trump coverage like a production of Springtime for Hitler but instead of getting laughs everybody thinks he’s serious.
Speaking of the Other Zuck, he’s also been doing his best to look on the bright side of things, insisting, Charlie Sheen-like, that his people are starting to get tired of all the #Winning he’s brought to CNN:
“My job is to remind everyone that they need to stay focused doing their job,” Mr. Zucker said on Wednesday, brushing off any suggestion that he was rattled. He added: “He’s trying to bully us, and we’re not going to let him intimidate us. You can’t lose your confidence and let that change the way you conduct yourselves.”
Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Chris Cuomo–host of CNN’s New Day (Same Old Bias)–chimed in, “I’m comfortable going to work in Thunderdome every day.” Well, that analogy might work–but only if Cuomo is Blaster and Trump is Aunty Entity.
Not to worry, though. I’m sure Zucker still sees himself as Master.
Anyhoo, with all this going on, it doesn’t look as if the war between CNN and the Trump administration will be abating any time soon–which kind of leaves me feeling conflicted. On the one hand, I think it’s peachy that CNN has torn off the mask of objectivity, like Peter Parker ripping off the black Spider-Man costume, revealing to everyone that they’re less about covering the news and more about getting digs in against an administration they don’t like–something they also did with George W. Bush, even though Dubya was far too polite to call them out on it. On the other hand, it would also be great to see them have a “WTF are we thinking???” moment, realize that they’re doing nobody any favors by acting like bias junkies in search of a new fix, and provide an example for other news organizations by cleaning up and going straight.
It’s a drama that even Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have made up. Anybody got popcorn?