Ding-dong, fake news is dead! Which fake news? CNN’s fake news.
At least, that’s the message coming out of the presidential Twitter account after Donald Trump’s least favorite channel had a disastrous month in the May ratings sweepstakes.
In spite of the fact that CNN was the official network of Michael Avenatti and his Stormy Daniels Traveling Circus (take note, Brooklyn hipsters: that’s an excellent band name), that didn’t seem to help them any in the ratings game last month, with the network losing a quarter of its viewers year-over-year.
In fact, it almost seems counterintuitive, but the only cable news network that saw gains during a stormy (and Stormy) month for Trump in the news cycle was Fox News, which Forbes reported saw a 6 percent increase when compared to the same period last year.
This was the 197th straight month that Fox News was on top of the cable news sweepstakes, even with a prime-time lineup that looks almost nothing like it did last summer.
Fox News has been #1 for 197 months straight. In the latest ratings disaster for CNN they lost another 25% of their viewers. Fox has 10 of the top 15 shows and even hold the #1 spot in the younger key demo. The public is loudly rejecting @CNN. https://t.co/y1RMI5LW8j
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 30, 2018
And of course, this was a time for Trump to humbly wish that CNN would get its act together, have a solid month of June, maybe make up some of … nah just kidding. Instead, he took to Twitter and rejoiced over CNN’s downfall.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2018
“Real @FoxNews is doing great, Fake News CNN is dead!” the president wrote.
Of course, the only time that he’s doesn’t call CNN “fake news” is when he calls them “very fake news.” And, while they should be making hay while the Trump-Robert Mueller sun is shining — and Avenatti hath shone upon them quite frequently, let me tell you — things aren’t looking good for the channel that’s more or less branded itself as the official network of #TheResistance.
Even though Fox News’ prime-time lineup looks nothing like it did a year ago, Sean Hannity has still been holding it down and Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have managed to turn into major stars for the network.
Meanwhile, over at MSNBC, there’s at least Rachel Maddow at night and JoeMika in the morning, and you can plausibly say there’s a solid 0.25 percent of Americans who know that Chris Hayes exists.
Who does CNN have? There’s, um, Don Lemon, except the only people watching him are pretty much waiting for their 8:45 p.m. flight to board. Chris Cuomo has tried to establish himself as a credible journalistic personality, emphasis on tried, by essentially berating anyone he doesn’t agree with. I know Jim Acosta, but not in a good way. Um. I could pick Brooke Baldwin out of a four-person CNN anchor lineup if maybe three of them were men. I’m trying here.
The lack of personalities should be worrying to CNN higher-ups, particularly because it’s not as if CNN has any great store of credibility as a neutral news source — even when you compare it to liberal fixtures like The New York Times or Washington Post — and it also isn’t making a name for itself in the field of punditry, either.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that CNN is dead. In a cable landscape where even MTV is still in the top 30, I don’t think it’s even possible for a major network to die no matter how irrelevant it gets.
I’m sure Trump knows this, too. However, what he also knows is that his tweet is going to get Lemon and whoever he managed to book fulminating over how Trump is delegitimizing the great work they’re doing over at CNN.
And really, that’s the reaction the president wants — which could be part of CNN’s problem in the first place, come to think of it.
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