CNN Moves To The Right and Loses 52% of Its Viewers

CNN’s abandonment of news to climb in bed with the tea party has turned into an epic disaster as the network has lost 52% of its viewers.

In a month where all three cable networks had ratings declines, no one did as badly as CNN. The network lost 52% of their total viewers (Run, Anderson, run. Imagine what a Cooper/Maddow primetime could do for MSNBC). Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room was down 46% in total viewers and 61% in the demo. How bad for have things gotten for CNN? In my recent travels, I passed through four airports, and not a single one had CNN on. The channel that I have been seeing more public televisions tuned to is The Weather Channel. Yes, even the weather is more interesting than CNN.

CNN’s problems started when the network bosses got the bright idea that they should try to copy Fox News, and move to the right. After climbing into bed with the Tea Party Express and hiring far right wingers Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch led to the current ratings disaster, what would you expect CNN to do?

If you said hire more right wingers and conservatives, congratulations, you are qualified for an upper management position at CNN. The network’s latest hire, Fox News castoff Margaret Hoover, let the cat out the bag, “Executives at CNN have been looking for fresh faces and new talent with conservative perspectives, and in the end, offered me an opportunity that was too good to pass up. Indeed, competition, that sturdy pillar of capitalism, is alive and well in the cable news industry.”

Despite the fact that their network is dying because they hired a bunch of conservatives, executives at CNN are looking to hire… more….conservatives.

The ratings suggest that viewers don’t want a Fox News clone CNN. They want their news network back. CNN used to be the best cable news network for two reasons. They focused on news, and they had more reporters and bureaus around the world than anyone else. CNN has been cutting their staffing for years, and their focus is now on trying to be a Fox News mini-me.

What they don’t seem to understand is that Fox News has branded itself so thoroughly with the conservative movement that their viewers are never going to leave Fox for CNN, and by moving to the right, they have alienated the left and middle who also will no longer watch CNN.

The truth is that the conservative cable news audience is tiny. Fox News only averaged 1.6 million primetime viewers in May, and those people will die in their nursing homes with their televisions tuned to Fox. However, CNN could be very successful by moving to the center/left. The network has more resources and is in more homes than MSNBC, and the vast majority of Americans don’t belong to the polarized extremes of the left and right.

CNN’s downfall should serve as a warning to the entire mainstream media that catering to the far right will only result in failure. There is only room for one Fox News. The audience isn’t big enough to support two networks working the same side of the street.

Maybe one day someone in cable news will wise up and not cave to the few screaming banshees on the right, and realize that there is a large and hungry audience in the middle, and those people would like to see some news.

74 Replies to “CNN Moves To The Right and Loses 52% of Its Viewers”

  1. I think the end started with Wolf. They were a news organization until they hired him. He tunred it into a crawdad buffet with his having the situation room instead of a desk. Not to mention he is a complete idiot who couldn’t ask a hard question if a 16 foot piece of iron was shoved up his backside.

  2. Count me in that 52%; I had been a CNN viewer since the Bernie days back in the 80s, watched it really grow. I used to watch them both, but now I don’t need my pip, MSNBC only (except that douche Morn’n Joe). I hope Anderson considers making the correct move to a news network.

  3. “hose people will die in their nursing homes with their televisions tuned to Fox”


    So true, so true!!!

    I ended up in the hospital a few months ago for a few days, and had a roommate who insisted on having Fox News blaring at all hours. The old whiny curmudgeon was a royal pain in the ass (I really came to respect the nurses because of what he put them through), and when they brought me in the room they soon were in a big fight with the jackass. I don’t know what they said to the guy, but they finally got him to back down and have something quiet and soothing. (He kept grumbling that he couldn’t sleep unless Fox News was on loud, but he fell asleep anyway.)

    The first couple of hours was hell, however.

  4. CNN used to be pretty good but now they don’t ask tough questions anymore. They let Repubs get away with spewing their ridiculous talking points and don’t push back at all. Start being journalists again and get after it the way you used to. What gets me the most is when Fox makes up a story early in the day and then the rest of the media, including CNN, pick it up as if it’s actual news. That’s part of the reason there’s so much misinformation out there. Why don’t they investigate a story before they report on it. But no, they say, “Fox News is reporting…” Come on, do your jobs, media folks.

  5. First of all..let me just say..Fuck you, cnn. I stopped watching you in 2002 and it’s freaking Heartwarming to see the Nation following suit in 2012.

    There’s nothing quite so Sickening as a supposed “news” station that warps the news to brainwash its viewers..think the Rwanda Massecre and the propaganda that preceded it. Think fox screws with your head and all the stupid Americans drooling after the sociopathic, pathological whiny Liar, willard romney.

    Muchas Gracias, Jason, for the most Excellent news!!!!

    Up With Reality Based Sites like POLITICUSUSA!

  6. That’s why “coming out of his coma” for The Quack Trump was so SHOCKING in the most Amazing Way!

    Not that he won’t return to his original stupor.

  7. Great article. The only thing I disagree with is describing Fox as “news.” It’s really nothing but far-right propaganda.

  8. When polled on different issues, most Americans who consider themselves moderate or independent or even conservative actually lean left based on their answers. So Americans are more liberal than they’ll admit… Perhaps because the right-wing propaganda marketing machine successfully demonized ‘liberal’ in our society. CNN would do well to stop trying to lean right and straighten up!

  9. I agree with you all CNN makes me so mad trying to be Fox like I could scream I make it a point to go out on the weekends because MSNBC is off except in the mornings
    I can’t stand Fox News They even look like the disgusting liars the are an it just loaded with willful misinformation that serves no one well
    They need to be snatched off the national air waves an they can take CNN with them!

  10. You pegged it Nancy. I sometimes catch the networks for local news and they do it too. My ABC local news lost me a couple weeks ago with “Well maybe the President should just show his real birth certificate and put this all to rest if its not true….” Gag me. I sent an email in protest but no response. Anderson is getting some supportive comments and I’m a bit surprised as IMHO he’s been drinking the tea right along with the rest. I try to catch Soledad O’Brien when I can but other than that, no CNN for me.

  11. You could look at it in a different way.
    Perhaps there was never a genuine market for the kind of news that Fox produces. There’s been speculation for some time now that Fox News has been fudging its ratings. It’s NOT hard at all to do, especially when you have as much corporate influence that News Corp does. If the claims are true, it’s a serious allegation. It would involve fraud since ratings serve as means of setting advertising rates and also it is used in annual reports to shareholders.

    Here are two links that give some further info:

  12. When I watched CNN- which is becoming rarer and rarer- I am always shocked to see how ill-informed both Blitzer and Clancy actually are. Anderson Cooper must feel very lonely there sometimes.

  13. I left CNN a year ago, I just ccouldn’t take Wolf any more. Their morning news show at that time was horrible

  14. A well deserved fate for the people who thrust Glenn Beck and Erick Erickscum on a national audience. The sooner they’re gone, the better.

  15. I left cnn long ago when they stopped febuffing the lies from the right, I cannot stand Joe Scarboro either, he is a know it all bully. These days I watch Current TV, Bill Press is on from 6 am to 9 am, and then Stephanie Miller till noon. The nice thing is people can call in with questions/comments.

  16. That’s an important point. Not only has the term Liberal been demonized (I’ve been trying to get people to take the word back… it’s a GOOD thing), but the damned conservative churches have programmed people into thinking that in order to be Christian, you have to be Religious Right. Nothing could be further from the truth… in fact, I regularly argue that you cannot be conservative and value Jesus’ teachings.

  17. Several years ago, I learned how deceptive and wrong (and conservative) the news sources are, except for those on the internet. It was rammed home after I’d compared the official documents for the Jena 6 situation with the reporting, and what was left out.

    Even PBS and NPR got it wrong some of the time, and they’re the most accurate available. Mainstream sources? Next to worthless. I put Fox and Washington Times in their own categories – deliberate deception and over racism.

    I’ve known that this has been a problem for years. I used to know amateur radio operators who in the 60s and 70s, would use teletype machines (later computers when they became available to hobbyists) to copy the UP and other news feeds… and figured out how to decrypt them. Then they would compare what was actually said on the nightly news vs what came over the “wires”… it was usually quite different especially when it came to race issues or big business dirty dealings. The services eventually found out that non-news people were “copying” their transmissions and went to hardwire so they couldn’t be intercepted.

    I long for an accurate broadcast news source… maybe one of the international SW stations, if one that isn’t pushing an agenda could be found.

  18. I can’t take Jim Clancy talking to me like he was my uncle or something. It seems very unprofessional. Then there’s that Brit named Quest who sounds like a wind up toy. After that scandal he was involved in, he’s lucky to ever be working again. Add that wretched Piers Morgan and it’s no wonder that CNN is failing.

  19. CNN is definately the new FAUX, I don’t listen anymore, its only MSNBC and only the evening line up for me

  20. Since Katrina I’ve followed Anderson but not for quite a while. CNN has become another knee jerk right wing rumor reporting piece of shit. Hope management gets fired.

    What are they, 12?

  21. So true. You hit the nail on the head. I also used to watch CNN because they were more balanced. I stopped watching Faux News years ago. Why would I watch a cheap imitation.

  22. God help this nation if there’s a serious market for their bullshit!

    (But I have to admit, as many dominionists there are in this area, it wouldn’t surprise me!)

    That doesn’t mean that they’re speaking some sort or version of the truth, however.

  23. On the word “liberal” being demonized by the right, perhaps this would be of interest (see if the first part reminds you of anyone):

    “The instruments and methods of the fraudulent and greedy [for gain] are evil; he devises wicked devices to ruin the poor and the lowly with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is just and right.
    But the noble, openhearted, and LIBERAL man devises noble things; and he stands for what is noble, openhearted, and generous. -Isaiah 32:7-8 (Amplified Version) (caps mine)

  24. Here are just ten of the many stages of CNN’s downfall that I have observed over the years.

    (1) Steve Case and Gerald Levin forge a behind the scenes merger to force Ted Turner out of control of CNN.

    (2)Lou Dobbs returns to CNN and within a year or two, completely dives into the shallow end of the pool without a helmet.

    (3) CNN introduces Chipmunk aka Glenn Beck to a wide television audience.

    (4) The benign Paula Zahn is replaced with the deceptively despicable Campbell Brown.

    (5) Sarah Palin is supported 100% by CNN, no matter how immoral, illogical, or insane this idea might be!

    (6) CNN wholeheartedly supports The Tea Party.

    (7) The Best Political Team on Television should be called The Barf Bag of Political News.

    (8) Erickson and Loesch are hired just to rub the crazy Tea Party memes in our faces.

    (9) Larry King is replaced by Piers Morgan.

    (10) Erin Burnett is hired from CNBC.

    Liars and propagandists all! Excellent article, Jason. Keep up the good work!

  25. They should promote Wolf Blitzers show by running the Colin Powell clip from the original Gulf War-based-on-lies, remember when CNN used to run all those ads promoting themself with the clip of Colin Powell back in 1993 saying “the best coverage I have seen was on CNN”.

  26. They erred in becoming personality focused.
    HLN is now about the hosts not the product, now its the same at CNN.
    Internationally however, they have yet to become so polluted.
    Too bad they won’t go back to just a solid reporting function starkly in the middle and then we can flip right to Fox or left to MSNBC to get opinion.
    Unfortunately, all media panders to the lowest common denominator on either side of the fence. Can’t wait till they have a Ryan Seacrest organization program their feeds. (tongue firmly in cheek)

  27. I will watch Anderson from time to time but I have shut off CNN for over two years now. Wolf with the gigantic panels of “experts” where no one really gets to actually speak or make a point to Piers “I know Donald Trump and he’s no racist” Morgan. After that comment and the revelations of his involvement with the phone hacking scandal totally turned me off to his show. I really don’t watch very much of any news program anymore. Maybe Rachel Maddow and Anderson.

  28. I stopped watching CNN about 20 years ago. What a shame this network has sunk so low. But what do you expect from right wing extremist who want to control information and present idoit’s like Glen Beck as news. I don’t see how critical thinking people can watch any network news. I use to watch MSNBC at night not Morning Joe (what an ass). Bascially the news is owed by same people trying to destroy this country. Wake up. I get the news from reading tons of liberal/progressive sites and foreign web sites. There are some journalits out there for truth but won’t get published by networks/news. FOX noise is not news. Why hasn’t the FCC jumped on fox noise with all their outright lies and distortions?

  29. I can’t recall the last time I watched CNN. It was probably back in the early 90s when the network was really into factual news reporting. I get bored listening to the opinions of pundits, and I get pizzed when politicians are allowed airtime to lie to the American people. At this point, I’ve stopped watching any TV news program, but I will watch ‘Politics Nation’ occasionally. I learn more about what is going on by logging onto the internet. I grew up watching Cronkite, Huntley, and Brinkley, and today’s MSM is a three ring circus. When I watch news programs, I want facts, not spin. Ted Turner mentioned buying the network back a couple years ago. I wish he would because the CNN of today is nothing like the CNN that Ted Turner envisioned.

  30. NPR? Are you serious, man? One day I had my belly full of being told by people who moonlight at FAUX NOIZ that the country was fully behind “This Popular Wartime President” and started questioning what they were saying. When they fired Bob Edwards I turned them off, and never donated another dime to them.

    As for the BBC, I was an avid Shortwave listener (until so many broadcasters started curtailing their N. American services, leaving nothing to listen to besides R. Habana and Brother Stair) and one day had the chance to listen to both the World Service broadcast of “Newshour”, and the edition supplied to NPR stations, one right after the other. There was criticism of US policy that did not make it to the NPR version.

    Hell, I’d rather read “PRAVDA”.

  31. I love my dish.

    I get Free Speech, Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, and RT not to mention dozen’s of other international programming.

    I still have to go online for BBC and NHK but at least we have options that are actually real news.

  32. I haven’t watched CNN in years and stopped going to their website 3 years ago. They have nothing to say anymore. They are redundant. BTW have not watched Fox or read their website in years either. I’m an MSNBC girl but they are boring as well. Give me BBC, Aljazeera anyday. The Australian ‘ABC’ is not bad.

  33. I had to abandon because they didn’t filter their comment section and i found the things some people would say quite disturbing. It’s just not worth all the mental anguish just to catch the news!

  34. Actually I don’t think they do own that company, they do have some very close ties. One of the top News Corp executives is the CEO of the company that manufactures the rating equipment for Nielsen, I believe. Be sure to check that link because the connections are somewhat complicated.

  35. When it comes to different news sources, I also like to mix it up. I figure they are all biased about some subjects and more fair about other things. BUT Fox News is so deceptive that it isn’t really news at all.
    CNN can be deceptive, biased and just plain sloppy. One thing that always makes me suspicious of any news organization is when they promote news “celebrities” instead of the quality of the news itself.

  36. They actually call that “split scream” news casts. :) The English edition of RT (Russian Television) has a show like that with six different screens and inevitably every show ends up with the frazzled host telling people to “give so and so a chance” or “let’s give so an so a minute to respond.” It’s fun to watch the bedlam but I don’t think it’s very informative.

  37. Wonder what took people so long, to realize that CNN is not a news network anymore, but is being pimped out like a whore from it’s right wing corporate masters/pimps. I remember back in late (after GWB won re-election) 2004 when the situation in Iraq was getting much worst by the day, Wolf Blitzer was slobbing all over GWB cock, desperately trying to hype him up and I quote: “President Bush approval ratings, are somewhat going up! up!” it was just pathetic to watch. By the summer of 2005, when GWB approval ratings drastically started going down hill, Wolf Blizter tried again, looking like a damn fool justifying GWB failure in this so-called war.

    Then they hired that right wing hack/skank Campbell Brown with her “No Bull” bull shit. After that, I had enough and I shut the shit off, never to watch CNN again. I bought my MACBook in 2008, since then I get all the REAL informative news off my computer and PAD now.

  38. I quit CNN in ’04. They continued running the Swift Boat ads against Kerry even after the Swift Boat group was thoroughly discredited. I had become disgusted with CNN before, but that was the last straw. I think the decline started with the OJ trial; a lot of really good programming disappeared to make room for it, and never came back.

  39. But to CNN’s credit they did show a LOT of Marsha Clark hiking her dress up for that other Lawyer named Chris that she was having an affair with during the trial.

  40. It’s too bad CNN International isn’t easily available in the US because it’s reasonably good. They do some very good things sometimes, including an on-going series about modern-day slavery. One rarely sees Blitzer — I think he’d be laughed off the International set if he started bloviating wingnut poo over there. Clancy is even decent when he knows he’s got an intelligent audience (There’s a definite difference in what he does on CNNi vs. CNN Domestic — and I’ve watched both.)

  41. I stopped watching when Judy Woodruff was showing how sad she was that a democratic presidential candidate might lose the election back in the late90’s

  42. If consertives were true to their religion, they would be practicing the “Golden Rule” and acting as they describe a “Liberal”. Jesus would run in the other direction from what they preach now, they do not value any of his teaching. There is nothing Christan about their actions.

  43. Run Anderson while you’ve got the chance. Run NOW! Get out of there while you still have what little soul you have left.

  44. I remember when CNN first came on and the covered the news around the world. What a great network it was then. Then , for some reason, they stopped covering the world. Then, they went hollywood + crime beat . Now, they are apparently, though I don’t watch it anymore, going Fox News lite. God help them . Since MSNBC got Ed, Rachel, and Lawrence I stay on there all day. My only complaint is that damned afternoon and night weekend programming they do. I just turn it off completely.

  45. Hilarious that FOX viewers and the tea partiers continue to think that CNN is some kind of liberal mouthpiece.

    I stopped watching CNN years ago when it became obvious to me that their “news” coverage was becoming as shallow as that of USA Today.

    Then they hired Glenn Beck and that was the final straw.

    I’ve written them many times and suggested that they’ll never out-FOX FOX and it sure would be nice to have an actual news network that actually REPORTED news rather than taking an ideological stance and spewing 24/7 opinion and providing a soapbox for party talking points.

  46. I saw the change start after Ted Turner sold the network. They did a great job reporting the news when he built the network.

    But the new owners apparently decided that there’s more money in entertaining people by playing to their ugly prejudices than there is in reporting straight news.

    But the major networks have gotten pretty light on straight news as well. Our TV media, broadcast and cable, is in a deplorable state and is worthless as a news source.

  47. wow! happy to see i’m not crazy and many,many more sane people are seeing what i’ve been seeing…i feel much better now,even soladad obrien is waco now she use to so cool and refreshing,but now her and that nutbucket will cain piss me off everytime a democrate is on will act like he’s some lawyer cross examining some body..he’s not intelligent as he potrays himself,then i see soladad letting GOP trash tell blatant humungus lies so cnn,morn joe and fox can kiss my entire ass good by peace to the sane..want to read a intresting story google women found dead in joe scarborugh office in 2001 kept very quiet swept under..when he was cheating on his wife,huh mr moral quit congress his excuse was wanted to spend time with kids..instead of explaining how the 24yr old pretty intern died..and as many of you have seen joe has a anger and control issues

  48. I don’t care if they go past faux noise to the right …since they only seem to have 3 stories on a 15 min. loop ! I have no reason to watch.

  49. I thought it was me. Nope, CNN has sold its soul. All the more reason and desperate need for social media. . . while we still have it.

  50. I'm kind of boggled as to why Anderson Cooper hasn't flown the "coop" (pun intended!) yet! He's too smart to stay there, and I can't EVEN fathom him being a social conservative….fiscal, maybe, but no way on that radical religious crap.  I also stopped watching them last year sometime, not too long before that twit Erin Burnett came on.
    Fox is known for their conservative views, but the problem with them is they lie about just about everything, and to me, they represent the "birther mentality"….the mentality necessary to support crazy, stupid stuff.  My guess is that CNN thought they could capture the more reasonable conservative audience, not so much radical religion, and they'd actually not LIE about stuff all the time.  Looks like the baggers aren't having any of that =) They like their drama too much.

  51. I was really glad to read this article. I hadn't watched CNN for a few years and turned it on a few months ago – can't remember why, maybe to catch some news in a hotel room? – and I was shocked. I literally thought – 'what happened to the actual news and what the hell is this?'
    I work with college students – no wonder they get their news from Colbert and Stewart! The traditional media is a waste of space!

  52. If you do something that nakes people leave in droves, how smart is it to keep doing even more of it! Are they really that stupid? Yes! 
    Who knows why or how this brainwashing of the conservatives and repubilcans? It really doesn't make sense. Why would Any woman vote FOR these nuts who are attaking with all they can? 
     I guess it has to do with faux noiz and with  churches where the pastors and priests tell them how to vote!
    The pro-lifers are not really that, they just have a love affair with fetuses.
    They con't care about the woman carrying it or how it's supposed to eat or educated once born. 
    Would they be pro life while they are also pro death sentencing is beyond me.

  53. THank you SO much for that! Liberal used to be considered a great thing. It is not bad. We have many things here That people don't even realized are socialism. There is social security, medicare, public libraries, policemen and fremen,  roads and bridges,( definately NOT for the stand alone point of view) The upkeep on roads and bridges and city  run water departments.
        THese are all things done for all.  And done for the good of the Nation!

  54. You are so right about Current tv with Press but especially the Stephanie Miller Show. I tape all 3 hours and watch it when I come home from work. She is so funny and they are all so bright on there. We need Current to catch on.

  55. I used to watch CNN between 3-4 hours per day; now the only time I watch is when I travel and there is no msnbc.  I refuse to watch fox, which is not even news.  I remember when CNN first started with Bernard Shaw, now that was a news channel.  Wolf drives me batty – every other phrase is how CNN is the bext news team in the busy.  
    Actually on watch reason trip rather than watch CNN I watched hours of "Pawn Stars" on some cabel channel. Another trip I watched hours of "Kitchen Nightmares."   
    It would be great if Anderson joined Rachel.

  56. I solved this problem years ago.  I put a "free" sign on my TV and put it on the curb.   ,Problem solved.  I homeschool and we search the web for information.  TV hasNOTHING to offer. 


  58. Brother, can I sympathize with you! As a nurse myself, I have to hear Fox News blaring at all hours of the night from and have to bite my tongue whenever I hear one of the older patients make some really inappropriate remark concerning the President's ethnicity, religion or supposed place of birth.

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