Media Critics Blame 'American People' for CNN Going Tabloid

Media Critics Blame 'American People' for CNN Going Tabloid

It looks as though while I was on vacation last week a few media critics were complaining about CNN’s decision to cover the Zimmerman trial over the fall of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. Fair enough. What I reject, however, are explanations like this one that blame the American people for what is happening to CNN:

[T]he Zimmerman trial will likely be a ratings boon for all cable networks, including MSNBC and Fox News, which have also been heavy on the courtroom coverage. CNN’s domestic outfit understands the same way Time Magazine does that most Americans don’t know much about world events, and don’t care to — John King even admitted as much last year.

The truth is, CNN’s programming decisions aren’t a reflection of CNN so much as a reflection of the American people, more of whom care about a domestic court trial than about the historic events taking place overseas. Right now, CNN International is broadcasting wall-to-wall coverage from Egypt. The fact that CNN’s domestic channel isn’t should tell you what executives there think about the American people’s interests.

That is Politico’s Dylan Byers, whom I am not singling out. He is not alone in his thinking; he just summed it up best.

But this thinking is grossly unfair to The American People.   

First off, how can anyone claim that CNN is giving the American people what they want when fewer than 1% of the American people watch CNN? In fact, if you add up the viewership of MSNBC and CNN (both are offering wall-to-wall trial coverage), you still don’t hit a million viewers. About a million people went to see “The Lone Ranger” last week. I don’t hear anyone claiming “The Lone Ranger” is something the American people want.

There are over 300 million people in this country and I’d bet that close to 250 million are old enough to watch television and comprehend what they are watching. This means that fewer than one-half of one-percent are watching the Zimmerman trial on the cable nets. Throw in Headline News and you still aren’t at 1%.

Bottom line: It is absurd to claim that CNN’s Zimmerman obsession is merely an act of giving the American people what they want when 99% of Americans are not watching the Zimmerman trial.  

Secondly, Fox News is not (at least this week — I was off last week) going wall-to-wall with Zimmerman coverage. Yes, they are covering the trial, but the network is much more focused on other national and international events. And yet, Fox usually wins more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined. So what do the American people really want? Using the logic of some media critics, they want more Fox News (that sound is the heads of media critics exploding).

Finally, let us never forget that it was the Democrat-Media-Complex itself that ginned up a local Florida (alleged) crime into a national news story purely for cynical political purposes…

1. The President of the United States made the Zimmerman case an issue of national importance in order to gin up division, and therefore voter turnout, in a swing state crucial for his re-election.  

2. Obama’s media played right along, going so far as to maliciously doctor audio tape, invent a new race (the “white Hispanic“), falsely claim Zimmerman is white, falsely claim Zimmerman had no injuries, and send a network anchor out to Florida to stoke division. If you click those links you will find NBC, MSNBC, ABC, Reuters, The New York Times, and numerous other news outlets — in other words: The Media. And The Media had two goals here: to service their president and to push gun control.

When an American president and almost all of the national media align together and point at something in order to claim that it is important; when they publish sensationalized false reports in order to fit that divisive agenda — that is not giving the American people what they want, that is telling the American people what they want.

It is also an act — borne of the worst motives — of artificially forcing a local story into a national news story — which it now is.

There is plenty of blame to go around for this cynical spectacle, but the hands of the American people remain clean.


Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC