Though Fox News now dominates the cable news ratings during galvanizing national events like Monday’s Navy Yard shooting massacre, CNN has of late beat MSNBC for second place, which it did Monday night — except for Piers Morgan. Although Morgan immediately went into his default position of exploiting a mass-shooting for ratings, his primetime hour is the only one that lost to MSNBC the night of the shooting.
Wolf Blitzer handily beat Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz in both total viewers and the all-important 25-54 age demo. Erin Burnett just as handily trounced Chris Matthews; and Anderson Cooper won both of his hours against Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell.
Piers Morgan, however, not only earned the lowest ratings of the night for CNN (except for a 11pm rerun), he lost to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo.
Morgan is a genius at exploiting gun tragedy as a way to turn the spotlight on himself. No one questions that. Unfortunately (for his employer), the aging carnival barker is not able to turn that controversy into anything other than one ratings embarrassment after another.
If CNN chief Jeff Zucker is as smart as his champions say he is, some part of that Big Brain must be quietly humming, “How do you solve a problem like Piers Morgan?”
It is one thing to hire a Jerry Springer-type if his behavior can actually deliver viewers. But all Morgan delivers is low ratings and more damage to the reputation of a network that cannot afford much more damage.
One thing CNN can take comfort in is that so few people watched Morgan Monday night as he framed an entire show around a false claim based on his lazy brand of tabloid journalism.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC