For a few days in Ferguson, MO, CNN was able to race-bait its way to a few good ratings days, at least in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 demo. For those few days, CNN anchors poured gasoline on the Ferguson fire with racially divisive, fact-free assumptions that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown was just a racial incident.
CNN’s behavior was grossly irresponsible, reprehensible really, and did little to help the real victims of Ferguson: the predominantly black working class who can’t afford to lose a day’s pay and sure as hell can’t afford to lose a small business.
But burning and looted and vandalized businesses make for pretty pictures and are big news. So CNN handed the rioters the imprimatur of a cable news outlet to justify violent anarchy.
In just 10 days, CNN helped to cause more grief for more black Americans than the KKK has in a quarter century.
Hooray, it worked. For a few days, CNN was able to stop being embarrassed over its embarrassing ratings. But it only worked for so long. This week, CNN found itself back to wrestling MSNBC for third place.
During a heavy but Ferguson-free news week — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week (Friday isn’t yet available) — Fox News dominated both of its leftwing competitors in total day and prime time viewers in the 25-54 demo. In total viewers, Fox more than doubled CNN and MSNBC combined.
The fight for last place between the leftwing CNN and the leftwing MSNBC comes down to total and 25-54 demo viewers during the all-important primetime hours. CNN won the demo; MSNBC won total viewers. In total day, CNN wins both.
In a play for MSNBC’s viewers, CNN made a concerted effort to lurch left since Jeff Zucker assumed control early last year. Except for those days when CNN is dangerously desperate and irresponsible, this dogfight for last place is about as good as it gets.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC