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Why Is No One Watching CNN?

Photo: Michael Buckner/2011 WireImage

CNN’s April ratings were their worst in ten years, the New York Times reports today, and the Wall Street Journal seems to have noticed too. The cable network’s parent company Time Warner is certainly aware, and top executives are reportedly under “intense pressure” to improve numbers, despite the fact that CNN is on track to make more operating profit than ever this year, thanks to international channels and other properties. But huge losses in prime time must still sting: Fox News is a mile away in first place, while MSNBC has topped CNN during the most valuable part of the day for 22 of the last 24 months, and often has twice as many viewers. What happened to good old-fashioned objectivity? 

Put gently, as usual, by the Times: “Like Fox News, MSNBC now has hosts with clear political points of view at key times of the day. CNN promotes itself as the top source for nonpartisan news on television.” In other words, it’s boring and basic, so people only watch when they need primary results or Whitney Houston dies. Cenk Uygur of Current TV’s The Young Turks has the following advice:

… for the love of God, stop doing “he said, she said” crap that doesn’t actually deliver the news to anyone. Democrats said this and Republicans said that — who cares? What is the reality?! Your job is supposed to be to bring us facts, not what official spokespeople told you in their press releases and talking points.

CNN may have been the original cable network, but it’s simply not up to date with a time when news breaks mostly online and talking heads are for reinforcing already ingrained belief systems. In Uygur’s words, “they’re doing so poorly I might even catch them on Current.” Burn.

Why Is No One Watching CNN?