CNN might have been the first to provide 24-hour cable news coverage, but that does not mean the network does it best.
The channel’s ratings have been circling the drain for years, with the latest report showing just how bad it is faring against industry leader Fox News.
While CNN’s blatantly negative coverage of the Trump administration attracted some far-left viewers, the numbers have trended steadily downward since President Joe Biden entered office.
A series of high-profile exits only exacerbated the situation and incoming boss Chris Licht’s rhetorical push to excise some of the network’s bitter partisanship has not stopped the bleeding. The spectacular failure of an ill-fated streaming service only helped secure its current fate as a bottom-tier news outlet.
Over the course of last year, Fox News maintained fairly steady ratings numbers. CNN, on the other hand, lost 33% of its viewers — on top of the much steeper decline it experienced the previous year.
In the latest ratings report released last week, Fox News somewhat unsurprisingly held all 10 of the top-rated cable news programs. MSNBC did not show up on the list until number 18 and CNN’s first appearance was 10 places further down.
To put things in even starker perspective, one Fox News program — “The Five” — attracted an average of just under 3.5 million viewers, which is more than every CNN program between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. combined. Even the most popular CNN shows fell below 700,000 viewers.
Near the end of his first year in the White House, former President Donald Trump accurately predicted that the mainstream media would suffer when he left office, though he incorrectly believed at the time that outlets would look out for their own interests and actually back his 2020 re-election bid.
“Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there,” he said in December 2017. “Because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.”
To his credit, even longtime newscaster Ted Koppel acknowledged the clear ratings boost attributed to Trump.
Ted Koppel mocks CNN’s Brian Stelter: “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Trump.” pic.twitter.com/uwtZi8K2HM
— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) October 3, 2018
When Koppel forecasted in 2018 that “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump,” he received pushback from Brian Stelter, who subsequently joined the list of personalities fired by the struggling network.