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Prune Juice Media | December 11, 2016

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CNN Is In The “Ratings Urinal”

| On 02, Apr 2010

From the numbers, it looks like a good flush and a urinal cake won’t save them!

CNN has struggled, much more than I thought, in recent years with its ratings versus the other major cable news outlets – FOX and MSNBC.  They lost 40 percent of their primetime (7:00 – 11:00 p.m.) viewers since 2009. That’s a hell of a lot of viewership.

People say the main reason CNN is on the JV team is that FOX and MSNBC has big polarizing hosts of their shows, i.e., Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olbermann.  Viewers like drama in the evening and those four do deliver!  Part of this argument makes sense because we can obviously see that our electorate is pretty divided these days.

The network has a lot of soul-searching to do.  I watch them personally, the few times I sit in front of a TV to get my cable news.  But, it really does seem to be the same stories repeated over and over again.  I notice the lack of a real focus on opinion, but that’s not wanted in “real journalism.”

But, CNN needs something, a spark of sorts.  They need to stop with all those holograms, charts, magic boards, tweets, and Facebook messages for a second, even outside of the primetime slot.  Those items are fine in moderation, but I really don’t give a damn what “@luvbug1982” says about the healthcare bill in 140 characters or less.  When the highlight of your story is finding out what people on Twitter think, that’s pretty sad.

The main thing they need is to capture the mood of the people (i.e., a polarized electorate). Start with the base and work up.  I find some of their anchors to be a little stale and not as lifelike, at least from the image they project.  So, the staffs and executives working with John King, Campbell Brown, Larry King, and Anderson Cooper have some soul-searching to do.  They are competent journalists, but I don’t think the formats of their shows allow them to be competitive enough.

So until they find out what they’re going to do, FOX and MSNBC will continue pee-peeing on them in the ratings department. How sad…

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Check out Politico’s great interview with some media experts about what CNN should do.  I saw some pretty decent ideas!

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