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CNN Falls To Fourth Place Among Cable News Networks

CNN in primetime is tanking. The latest numbers show it behind Fox News, MSNBC and even CNN Headline News.

CNN says it's because they provide less commentary and more news, and viewers want commentary.

I disagree. CNN has as many pundits as the other networks. And, I think its pundits are the network's chief problem. They are boring, their comments are completely predictable and rarely informative. As soon I see any one of them, almost all holdovers from the 90's, way past their broadcasting prime, I change the channel. CNN is losing the ratings game because it has become your father's Oldsmobile of news.[More...]

Daytime isn't much better. Try listening to CNN on Sirius in your car. It's a few sentences of news, and then they go to their predictable stable of pundits and "experts." It's very frustrating when you want to get the news and you get their commentators.

This isn't to say the other networks are any better, but they don't seem to have as many paid contributors, so you don't see and hear the same guests night after night. Where did CNN go so wrong? During the primaries, with their "best team on television" nonsense. That locked them in to the same stable of four or five pundits, none of whom were worth watching night after night.

When the election was over, CNN still failed to see the need for new blood. Now they are in last place. It has nothing to do with ideology -- their pundits are just as biased as the other networks. Pairing them against each other doesn't make the broadcast objective. It just makes it dull and predictable.

Fault also lies with the producers who book the guests. Calling someone who wrote a book with a partisan point of view an "expert" doesn't make them one. Putting on dueling Congresspersons whose only goal is to further their partisan agenda rather than provide facts, is not "news." There are plenty of knowledgeable experts out there, some of whom will be both telegenic and articulate. It's the producer's job to find them.

CNN would do better to focus on news and get out of the pundit business, rather than pretending it isn't as invested in commentary as the other networks. It would be great to have a reliable news network that really did focus on presenting the facts and expert opinion about them.

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  • Display: Sort:
    This is sad for me. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 12:09:37 AM EST
    I actually like watching CNN more than any of the other networks because they, to me, have seemed to retain some semblance of national and international perspective in their news reporting. You're right about the punditry, through--that's what's killing them. Rick Sanchez and Co. in the morning/afternoon barely qualify as newscasters and I don't think the block from about 6-8 does much better.

    Things I do like: Anything by Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper 360, and Campbell Brown. Their new specials "Black in America" and "Latino in America" are good. I also like the statistical analysis provided by John King when they do decide to do it and not just play on the magic map.

    Yes, CNN is boring to most people. I like it that way, honestly. I want to see more objective news reporting, yes, but I enjoy the times they do the long, drawn-out news reporting and I ESPECIALLY like that they are an international news outfit at heart, much unlike MSNBC, FOX, and the others.

    I prefer CNN too (none / 0) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 12:20:06 AM EST
    but I guess the new brainless society prefers less news and more Beck and O'Reilly

    I haven't tuned into CNN... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 08:45:16 AM EST
    in months, I don't think they do the news better than any of the other outfits...and at least Fox as the unintentional comedy going for them...CNN is just lame.

    Parent
    you make an interesting point (none / 0) (#15)
    by CoralGables on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 09:07:47 AM EST
    when it comes to Fox. Is it news or entertainment? Is it a spinoff of Walter Cronkite or The Biggest Loser?

    I do give them credit for what they do best. They catapult the propaganda.

    Parent

    They've got it down to a science... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 09:17:32 AM EST
    allright, propaganda-tainment.  The rest is just slightly less obvious propaganda without the laughs.

    It is scary though that not everyone gets the big joke.

    Parent

    What's really scary (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:23:54 AM EST
    is the important news, say ACRON's problems and Van Jones, that the other networks don't carry.

    Parent
    LOL.... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 11:09:57 AM EST
    ThE ACORN hooker-helper scandal getting infinitely more play than the KBR rape scandal is exactly the kinda propaganda I'm on about Jim.

    Parent
    Then it looks like (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 11:16:32 AM EST
    the rest aren't doing their job.

    ;-)

    Parent

    Why tell me? (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 01:50:40 PM EST
    Since (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:24:32 AM EST
    The WH publicly (and stupidly) declared war on FOX, their (FOX's, not the WH's) ratings are way up.

    Parent
    CNN International is on my cable system (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 12:20:26 AM EST
    It's also a shadow of its former self, but it's still superior to what's happened to CNN recently.

    And as for Headline News--I don't really understand the point of that channel anymore. What exactly is its format?

    Love CNN-I (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 12:52:57 AM EST
    It's not what it was in the late '90s and early '00s, for sure, but it's still one of my favorites. I also really like watching BBC News America.

    I've often wondered the same thing about CNN Headline news. It switches between a stock market and sports score update channel to Nancy Grace yelling at the TV. I don't get it.

    Parent

    CBC & Peter Mansbridge (none / 0) (#6)
    by oldpro on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 03:29:32 AM EST
    ...a big advantage of living near the Canadian border.  That and PBS (radio and The News Hour) and C-SPAN periodically works for me, along with online news headlines/links and state link clips from the House Dem caucus...

    Very little cable news that I don't find annoying if not infuriating.  Just can't abide it.

    I pretty much stopped watching except (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 04:03:17 AM EST
    for special events, like Teddy Kennedy's funeral. I read the BBC news every day to compare their factual coverage to our's. And when I read our's, I usually go looking for source material afterwards to factcheck it. I guess I just don't trst the MSM any more, but again, a lot of that is who they rely on in the studio to comment on it.

    Maybe this is a good sign for the good independent bloggers  out there, who source everything they opine about, with links where readers can see read the facts themselves.

    As I said above, listening to CNN on Sirius, where you can't  see what's going on, only hear it, gives a whole different dimension to the coverage. And not a positive one.

    In the local papers, I see blatant factual errors. Last week, when writing about the 300 person nationwide cartel bust, the paper said all of the Colorado defendants were being held in pretrial detention.

    A U.S. Magistrate Judge in Grand Junction advised the arrested suspects of the charges, which stem from purported drug activity between December and May. They are being held in pre-trial detention, and a trial date has not been set.

    I have a client in that case, he's been on bond since day 1. Sloppy reporting. Had he even checked the court's docket he would have seen that.

    Parent

    You should email the reporter (none / 0) (#24)
    by oldpro on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 01:20:11 PM EST
    to check the docket...turns out we have to school these people locally!!

    Parent
    There's room for CNN (none / 0) (#9)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 06:32:59 AM EST
    CNN is being squeezed out by the extremes on both ends. Their best course of action would be to return to a level of integrity in news that doesn't exist un Fox or MSNBC. Get back to investigating the facts and reporting the news as it is rather than allowing the political parties to frame the issue.

    I don't believe that every issue has to be viewed from both sides. Present the actual facts and allow the public to form an opinion. I don't need hour after hour of canned political sound bites thrown at me. Rely more on independant analysts as opposed to party spokespeople. (Christiane Amanpour is a good example of someone who actually understands the Muslem culture and can discuss the issue in an adult manner).

    They have the luxery of time to really do in depth reporting on the news. They aren't restricted to a thirty second blurb like the network news is. So why don't they use it?

    Because it costs too much (none / 0) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:02:59 AM EST
    They have the luxury of time, but post-Ted Turner, they're expected to make a huge profit.  A stable of the same old commentators is far cheaper than sending correspondents and crews out to actually cover the news.  It's also cheaper than finding and paying really good bookers to find those independent "experts."

    Parent
    Fareed Zakaria (none / 0) (#10)
    by robrecht on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 07:51:44 AM EST
    I don't watch much CNN, but I do like Fareed Zakaria's GPS show.  He goes in depth with a single guest and often has very interesting discussion.  Can't imagine it would be popular with the masses 'though.

    Lou Dobbs (none / 0) (#11)
    by jsj20002 on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 08:24:38 AM EST
    I wonder how many viewers have, like me, decided not to watch CNN while it still gives xenophobes, like Dobbs, a microphone and a camera.  

    Pundit load is about equal (none / 0) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:08:39 AM EST
    during the day, probably, but CNN doesn't do one-person opinion shows during primetime, as the other two cablers do.  Instead they have the usually unspeakably boring Larry King show, laden with interviews with minor aging and often enough unhinged celebrities, and the nearly equally tedious and predictable Anderson Cooper show, which careens from decent actual news to tabloid crapola.  They're so proud of Anderson, or so cheap, they run his show four times in a row every evening.

    When you read the stats the headline (none / 0) (#23)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 12:46:09 PM EST
    is a little misleading.

    Sure CNN is fourth but they are only slightly behind MSNBC and HLN when compared to Fox.

    Fox is simply hammering the audience of the other three networks.

    That's the story not being reported.

    the Headline should be... "Fox stands above the rest while other networks fight for Crumbs".

    Just look at the numbers (none / 0) (#28)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 01:55:25 PM EST
    It's really ridiculous.

    Fox is King

    The top 11 programs in the young demo (with repeats beating Olberman at #12) and the top 13 in all demo's.

    Parent

    One reason could be (none / 0) (#29)
    by star on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 03:25:22 PM EST
    That Fox is the only channel in opposition to the party in power. Olbermann and co got most popularity once people were fed up of Bush WH. people like to hear BOTH sides of issues coming out of washington. currently FOX is the only channel providing it. CNN, MSNBC, NBC etc are all acting as mouth piece to this WH and their pundits are expert spin masters for this WH.

    CNN lost all credibility after the Democratic primaries. Declaring Donna Brazile as 'undecided' till the end , everytime she came on with her analysis, how can any one with a brain believe anything said by pundits in CNN? and the viciousness of Jack cafferty wondering why 'H.Clinton does not drop off the face of earth' turned many off of this once reputed channel.

    Parent

    Except (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 03:46:24 PM EST
    Fox was beating them when the Repubs were in power too.

    Parent