The NFL and CNN both suffered further ratings declines following Colin Kaepernick’s return to the spotlight and CNN’s ongoing fake news scandals.
The NFL’s regular season began officially began Thursday night and didn’t exactly get off to a great start.
Deadline reports that last night’s “post-midnight ending game is down 8% from last year’s kickoff of September 7, 2017.”
The Deadline report also indicates this is the fifth consecutive year of falling viewership: “In one of the lowest season openers ratingswise and facing portions of a cable news-covered rally by a very NFL critical President Donald Trump, last night’s game is not only down from last year, but 2016, 2015 and 2014 – all of which saw successive declines.”
This struggle comes after a week of intensive media coverage of Nike’s new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who got attention after kneeling during the national anthem at games, purportedly to protest police brutality against African-Americans in 2016. Kaepernick further provoked fans by wearing “pig cop” socks and honoring the violent communist dictator Fidel Castro.
The ad shows a photo of Kaepernick’s face overlaid by the caption: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” referencing Kaepernick not being signed to an NFL team since the 2016-2017 season.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
A video ad for the campaign featuring Kaepernick aired during the NFL opening game Thursday night.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 5, 2018
Some conservatives responded to the Kaepernick ad campaign by burning their Nike gear, and President Trump also commented on Nike’s ad campaign featuring Kaepernick this week, saying, “Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.”
CNN isn’t doing any better–last week, the network came in sixth place in the basic cable top ten, AdWeek reports.
While news competitors Fox News Channel and MSNBC were ranked number one and number two, respectively, CNN lingered behind not only its news competitors but HGTV, USA, and ESPN.
During the daytime hours, CNN was once again beat by Fox News and MSNBC, and it tied Nickelodeon for third place.
CNN’s ratings drop last week came while the company faced intense criticism from both conservative and liberal outlets for their bungling of a story about the infamous meeting that Donald Trump Jr. had with Russians in Trump Tower in July 2016.
The network touted a story written by CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Marshall Cohen, and veteran reporter Carl Bernstein that reported that Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen would tell Robert Mueller that Trump had known about a meeting with Russians in Trump Tower in 2016–a claim that later fell apart.
CNN’s original article, published in July, reported that Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, refused to comment on the story. However, Davis later claimed he was a source for the story. Thus, either Davis is lying or CNN is lying–which would be a major breach of journalistic ethics.
As The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote:
“Last night, BuzzFeed reported that Davis explicitly confessed that he was one of the anonymous sources for CNN’s July 26 story, just as he was for the stories from the Washington Post and the New York Post. Last week, CNN put Davis on the air with Anderson Cooper to deny that he was the source for that CNN story – a denial Cooper did not contest – but Davis now admits he was one of CNN’s sources, if not their main source.
Yet remarkably, CNN, in its July 26 story, specificaly claimed that Davis refused to talk to CNN about the story or provide any comment whatsoever.
Only one of two things can be true here, and either is extremely significant: (1) CNN deliberately lied to its audience about Davis refusing to comment on the story when, in fact, Davis was one of the anonymous sources on which the CNN report depended, and CNN claimed Davis refused to comment in order to hide Davis’ identity as one of their anonymous sources; or (2) Davis is lying now to BuzzFeed when he confessed to having been one of CNN’s sources for the story.”
When CNN’s media reporters addressed the botched story last week, they ignored major details surrounding their colleagues’ conduct.
CNN also suffered another embarrassment last week when one of their analysts, Jeffrey Toobin, falsely blamed Antifa violence on black Americans.
“Antifa is widely perceived as an African-American organization, and this is just part of the same story of LeBron James and Don Lemon and Maxine Waters and the NFL players and the UCLA basketball players,” Toobin said last Tuesday.
Of course, Antifa activists tend to be overwhelmingly white. TPUSA’s Candace Owens responded to Toobin’s claim, calling it “unbelievably racist.”
“This is literally CNN being HORRIBLY RACIST. Blaming black Americans for crimes that an ALL-WHITE gang commits—why? Because white Democrats are incapable of violence, and only black democrats are? UNBELIEVABLY RACIST JeffreyToobin. ANTIFA has nothing to do with the blacks,” she tweeted.
This is literally @CNN being HORRIBLY RACIST. Blaming black Americans for crimes that an ALL-WHITE gang commits—why? Because white Democrats are incapable of violence, and only black democrats are?
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) August 29, 2018
Owens also told Breitbart News that Toobin’s statement was “the worst kind of racism.”
Many other CNN commentators have defended the violent group.
Last week, Don Lemon said of Antifa, “Listen, no organization’s perfect.”
“There was some violence. No one condones violence, but there were different reasons for Antifa and for these neo-Nazis to be there. One, racists, fascists, the other group, fighting racist fascists. There is a distinction there,” he added.
This comes after Chris Cuomo, another CNN host, seemingly defended Antifa, saying, “The bigots are wrong to hit. Antifa or whomever — anarchists or malcontents or the misguided — they are also wrong to hit. But fighting hate is right. And in a clash between hate and those who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right.”
CNN’s ratings drop should come as no surprise. All through 2018, the network has seen drops from the previous year. Last month, during the week of August 13-19, the company posted a 23 percent drop in viewers in primetime from the same week last year.