CNN Hits Lowest-Rated Quarter in 21 Years

CNN Hits Lowest-Rated Quarter in 21 Years

The news just keeps getting uglier for CNN.

The network’s ratings plummeted to record lows in the last television quarter, March 26-June 22. According to, CNN was coming off its “least-watched month in primetime in 20 years in May” and “registered its lowest-rated quarter in primetime since 1991,” with total viewership down 35 percent from the last quarter. 

And when the numbers are compared to a year ago, “Individually, CNN shows hemorrhaged viewers heavily compared with last year.” 

For instance: 

Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room: down 42% in 25-54 and 26% in total viewers. 

John King U.S.A: cancelled due to miserable ratings 

Erin Burnett OutFront: “Down 45% in 25-54 from last year’s second quarter and down 33% in total viewers.”

Piers Morgan Tonight: “Down 33% in the 25-54 and 29% in total viewers.”

Anderson Cooper 360: A double whammy — The 8 PM show “was down 23% in the 25-54 and 19% in total viewers, and its 10 PM airing was down 48% in the demo and 44% in viewers.” 

Stale talent, no identity, and a cocktail party mentality among many of its regular cast of characters partly explain CNN’s downfall. However, the most likely reason for CNN’s woes is that the network feigns objectivity while its anchors and talent openly display their biases for liberals and against conservatives.

And television viewers, who are getting smarter as they are able to access more information at a more rapid clip, are not tuning in for programming that routinely insults their intelligence.

Even more incredibly, CNN’s executives seem not to realize this problem. 

In comments given to Politico, CNN executive Sam Feist compared CNN’s “role in the current media environment in sports terms.”

“There are a lot of people … who are baseball fans. They don’t cheer for the Red Sox or the Yankees, they just cheer for baseball,” Feist told POLITICO. “They want to get their coverage straight. They don’t want coverage of the game colored by the fact that their announcer has taken sides.”

Feist also told Politico, “we are the only U.S. cable news organization committed to worldwide newsgathering and reporting a broad range of stories without picking sides.”

Feist’s analogy is wrong on two counts. First, CNN is not like a neutral baseball announcer. In fact, CNN is the opposite of what the legendary and inimitable Dodger announcer Vin Scully is (someone who loves the Dodgers but is neutral in his coverage). CNN acts neutral but is a “homer” that roots and cheers for the liberal home team as obnoxiously as the Washington Nationals announcers cheer for the Nationals. 

The better analogy would have been that CNN tries to act like umpires. But at their best, CNN merely keeps the umpire jersey on while acting like WWE referees, openly helping their favored liberal side. At their worst, CNN blatantly takes off the umpire uniform and puts on the jersey of the liberal home team. 

Those quoted in the article also said that CNN would try to be like CNBC, a low-rated channel that is still influential because of the premium it puts on financial news. There is another difference here, though. CNBC cannot spin whether a stock went up or down or if a company’s earnings over-performed or underperformed. But CNN will surely spin what they think is premium news. 

The American public is not tolerating CNN’s Kabuki show anymore, sending its executives a message by changing the channel and tuning out.