In the realm of cable news, where trust and credibility once reigned supreme, CNN now finds itself drowning in a sea of distrust and disappointment. A network that was once hailed as the beacon of objective journalism has devolved into nothing more than a mouthpiece for the left, and viewers are taking notice, as reflected in their abysmal weekend ratings.
Founded in 1980, CNN proudly declared itself as “the most trusted name in news,” revolutionizing the way Americans consumed information. In the days before cable television, news was a limited resource, doled out only a few times a day depending on where you lived and what network you could access. Then came the advent of 24-hour news, a game-changer led by CNN.
Fast forward to today, and the network that once prided itself on being nonpartisan has become an echo chamber for the Democratic Party. Viewers haven’t missed this transformation, and the ratings speak volumes.
CNN’s recent ratings plunge hit rock bottom, prompting the arrival of Mark Thompson, the new boss tasked with salvaging the sinking ship after the dismissal of Chris Licht. In the interim, a four-person committee struggled to keep the network afloat, with dismal results evident in the viewership numbers.
The most recent weekend lineup, featuring programs like “State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash” and “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” garnered a mere 55,000 viewers. The Sunday primetime slot, boasting shows like “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper” and “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” attracted just 43,000 viewers in the crucial 25 to 54 demographic. To put it bluntly, these numbers are not just bad; they’re historically atrocious for CNN. Since data collection began in 1991, this represents the network’s worst performance ever in the 25 to 54 demographic, and overall viewership isn’t much better.
CNN trailed behind Fox and MSNBC with only 345,000 viewers, and Fox also dominated in key demographics, coming second only to itself. Industry insiders are voicing their concerns, with one insider calling CNN a “ratings embarrassment.” The network appears to be adrift without a clear direction.
It remains uncertain where Thompson will steer the network. Licht’s mission to bring CNN back to the center ground after a left-leaning period during the Trump presidency involved significant on-air talent changes, including the controversial firing of Don Lemon and shuffling of hosts. Despite these efforts, viewers remained unconvinced that CNN was delivering genuine news.
In fact, the network alienated conservative viewers during this period and managed to further anger liberals by providing a platform for GOP front-runner President Trump through their Republican Town Hall broadcasts. Ironically, these broadcasts earned higher ratings not seen since the Trump presidency, highlighting CNN’s fumbling grasp on its own audience.
CNN’s blunders seem never-ending, from the controversial figures like Don Lemon and Brian Stelter to the ill-fated CNN-Plus, a digital streaming service that was neither requested nor desired. The once formidable news giant appears to be on a self-destructive path.
Mark Thompson faces an uphill battle in restoring the public’s trust in CNN. The question lingers: can conservatives ever return to a network that spent over four years bashing Donald Trump and spreading misinformation? The prospects are dim. Likewise, it’s uncertain whether the liberal viewership that remains will stick around. In the end, CNN may find itself in a predicament of its own making, with no one to blame but itself.
As the network grapples with its identity crisis, one thing is clear: CNN has a long way to go before it can reclaim its former glory and the trust of the American people.