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To the Right, Donald Trump shellacked CNN and town hall moderator Kaitlan Collins.
To the Left, CNN enabled a right-wing lunatic to spread falsehoods that threaten the future of democracy.
In either scenario, CNN took a loss Wednesday night. The network did not improve its standing with either side.
Nor did CNN improve its status within. According to the network’s media scribe Oliver Darcy, management is “facing a fury of criticism” internally for the town hall.
“CNN and new network boss Chris Licht are facing a fury of criticism — both internally and externally over the event,” per the report. “How Licht and other CNN executives address the criticism in the coming days and weeks will be crucial.”
The channel tried to save face post-event with a comically-long set of panelists, who other than Byron Douglas, worked to diminish each of Trump’s claims:
CNN also included the below doozies:
Preliminary data counted an average of 3.1 million total viewers for the hour.
For context, the NBC town hall with Trump in 2020 — be it an election year on broadcast television — averaged over 15 million viewers. Still, it was CNN’s second-highest-rated town since 2016, trailing only Biden’s in 2020 (3.5 million).
Consider Wednesday night ratings victory for CNN. A short-term victory, that is.
It’s unlikely CNN can parlay the night into further success. Presumably, the network alienated more liberal viewers than conservative viewers it impressed.
Liberals have growing disdain for CNN management for claims of wanting to undo its staunch liberal bias. CEO Chris Licht recently spoke about the vitriol he has received from liberals since announcing said “journalism first” edict:
“The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning,” Licht told The New York Times. “Which proves my point: so much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths, and desperation.”
After the town hall, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked fellow supporters to continue spewing their outrage toward CNN:
Meanwhile, conservative viewers continue to detest anything CNN. A YouGov study this week learned that CNN is now “the most polarizing media source in America” due to a -37 score of trust from Republicans.
Both the Right and the Left feel validated in their criticisms of CNN after last night.
The town hall further complicated an identity crisis that has plagued the brand since Discovery management seized control last spring.
What is CNN?
Under Jeff Zucker, the network was MSNBC Lite.
Under Chris Licht, it’s not that. But it’s certainly not a news network. It does not report real news or offer thoughtful analysis.
The current batch of CNN hosts are best described as toned-down versions of Rachel Maddow without the chops or charisma. And no one is watching. Fewer than 700,000 viewers tune in to primetime.
So what purpose does the channel serve in the marketplace? Unfortunately, we do not know.
Apparently, neither does management. Because no strategic network would consider last night a prudent programming decision — from deploying an inexperienced 31-year-old correspondent to handle Trump to a post-event therapy session of grieving liberal pundits.
If there’s a silver lining for CNN, perhaps the town hall strengthened Donald Trump’s chances in the general election.
A Trump presidency may be the only cure for the crisis that is the obscure state of CNN.
One CommentLeave a Reply
I find it astounding that the network even still exists. It has to be just hemorrhaging money at this point.