This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the formerMost Trusted Name In News. The belief was that CNN’s ratings couldn’t sink muchlower than its 2012 lows and that newly-installed president Jeff Zuckercouldn’t possibly make things worse.
After months of retooling, CNN is still in last place andits primetime viewership has improbably sunk even further.
So what went wrong? How did Zucker and CNN bungle things sobadly that after hitting what everyone was sure was bottom in 2012, a newbottom was found in 2013?
Well, in reality, ratings are the least of the network’sproblems. Thanks to one breathtaking debacle after another, CNN now has acredibility problem from which it is unlikely to ever recover. And here are thetop five reasons why….
1. ExploitingTragedy After Tragedy to Push an Anti-Gun Agenda
Piers Morgan is a unmitigated disaster for CNN; a shrill, low-rated,not-too-bright, carnival-barking leftist and symbol of everything wrong withthe network. But when it came to exploiting the murders of schoolchildren topush an anti-gun agenda, CNN didn’t compartmentalize this to its left-winglimey.
In the wake of the horrific mass-shooting at Sandy HookElementary, there was almost no difference between the gun control push on CNNand MSNBC — except of course for the fact that MSNBC is honest about its agenda.In the days leading up to a largely symbolic Senate vote on tighteningbackground checks (that failed), CNN was caughtred-handed sucking up to its elite media colleagues with a promise todevote a full day of coverage to pressure Congress into restricting our SecondAmendment civil rights.
This happened in early April, just a couple of months afterZucker took over. And any of us who hoped Zucker might work to correct CNN’sbias problems would never make that mistake again.
2. The Great TrayvonMartin Race Hoax
It is a little unfair that only NBC is remembered forfabricating evidence to make George Zimmerman (who was acquitted in theshooting death of Trayvon Martin) look racist. Arguably, what CNN did was justas bad or worse. In April of 2012, The Most Trusted Name In News told its audiencethat Zimmerman had referred to Martin as a “f*cking coon” during a911 call on the night of the shooting. Other than wishful thinking, CNN had noevidence of this and once the evidence did come in (Zimmerman said nothing ofthe sort), the networkwas forced to walk it back.
CNN’s determination to push its left-wing race hoax,however, never waned, and charged right into 2013.
With as much zeal as the openly left-wing MSNBC, CNN usedthe Zimmerman trial to pretend the tragic shooting said something bigger aboutAmerican race relations. To push a completely fabricated black vs. white racialnarrative, CNN referred to the Hispanic Zimmerman as a “whiteHispanic” and on a daily basis lied through omission by downplaying oroutright ignoring Zimmerman’scolor blind past and his being cleared of any kind of a racial motive by aJustice Department investigation.
To make matters worse, CNN broadcastZimmerman’s personal information (including his Social Security number),and had agrotesque, full-blown on-air orgasm every time their fellow race-hoaxerBarack Obama exploited the case for his own cynical racial ends.
Nothing, however, will ever top a CNNanchor breaking down into tears live on the air.
Once Zimmerman was acquitted, the network went on to make aneven bigger fool of itself. It covered the post-verdict protests as though theyweren’t total flops, dabbled in the desperate “whiteprivilege” after-narrative, and then tried to make the Zimmerman caseabout Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, even though Stand Your Ground had asmuch to do with the Zimmerman case as objectivity and competence does with CNN.
With the Zimmerman case, CNN fell on its face in 2012 and thenused 2013 to try and dig itself out by chewing on the dirt.
It was kind of glorious.
3. The BostonBombing Debacle - For a very short time, it looked as though CNN had achance of moving into second place ahead of MSNBC, especially during the kindof big news events where CNN once excelled.
That all changed during the coverage of the Boston Marathonterror attack when we all watched in real-time as CNN melted down before ourvery eyes.
CNN wasn’t the only network to spread misinformation in thehours and days after the terror bombing, but no one did it quite asspectacularly asthis.
While number one and two on this list did little to hurt CNNwith a mainstream media that shares its left-wing politics, this surrealmeltdown did, and rightly so.
4. ‘New Day': TheSure-Thing That Wasn’t - Jeff Zuckermade his name ushering in the era of “The Today Show’s” ratingsdominance. Therefore, if there was anything he should have known how to do itwas create a successful morning show.
“New Day” is by far the most high-profileinvestment Zucker has yet to make in his programming changes, and it is anabsolute train wreck. After five-months on the air, “New Day” ishitting new lows — lows even lower than last year’s lowly lows.
Thus far, in his very own wheelhouse, the new CNN chief isinspiring only despair.
5. ZuckerJunior-Gate – Because CNN is still only one of three cable networks,and almost everyone in online and print media wants to be on TV, this scandal involvingJeff Zucker’s 14 year-old son did not get a hundredth of the media attention itwould have if it were Roger Ailes’ son.
Regardless, New Media still managed to spread the word andthe mainstream media knows — they know that Zucker’s 14-year-old son was puton the board of a rising Democrat star’s shady Internet start-up company.
By virtue of his politics and the clubby narcissism of the left-wingmainstream media, Zucker dodged having to deal with what might have been thebiggest media scandal of 2013.
But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Recently, Zucker and CNN announced that they have prettymuch thrownin the towel on being a news channel. Whether aping the Discovery Channel will work for CNN or not, time will tell. Butyou cannot be a successful news network with zero credibility, so CNN reallyhas no other choice than to try and remake itself.
Follow John Nolte onTwitter @NolteNC