In this installment of their weekly Sunday Six conversation, PF Whalen and Parker Beauregard of The Blue State Conservative discuss six examples of the ruination of the once-great Cable News Network (CNN) .
#6: The ratings for CNN continue to crash.
PF: It strikes me that many of our readers, particularly millennials, may be surprised to see our labeling of CNN as “once-great.” Anyone who only became aware of the network in the last decade or two likely assumes CNN has always been essentially just another branch of the Democratic Party’s communication department. But that assumption would be incorrect. While CNN, like most other news networks, has always leaned to the left, that bias was mostly subdued in the late-1980s and 1990s. They behaved like a news network should: Prioritize the accuracy of your reporting without spin and save your editorializing for appropriate programming.
During the Gulf War in 1991, CNN shone like no other news network before. Their access to official military footage, embedded reporters, and around-the-clock coverage of the conflict reset the standard for war reporting, and we all tuned into the network to watch America kick the crap out of Saddam Hussein. It was at this time that CNN’s slogan of “The most trusted name in news” might have been accurate. But not anymore.
CNN’s credibility is a joke, and their ratings are ‘exhibit A’ for that assertion. No one is watching CNN anymore because no one believes a word that they say. During the first week of this year, CNN’s ratings were down by as much as 90% over last year in both overall viewership and in key demographics. When nine out of ten viewers just stop tuning in, those numbers don’t just represent a sharp drop, they represent an absolute freefall.
When CNN reported on the Gulf War, and the Bush-41 and Clinton Administrations, they were at least somewhat objective. With Bush-43, they began to lift their skirt on their bias as they were often unfair in their coverage. And while many will point to their ridiculous reporting on the Russia Hoax as the beginning of the end for CNN, I disagree. In my view, those moments came during the Obama Administration. Obama was incompetent, and his administration was rife with scandal, but CNN spent eight years stroking their beloved hero. Their clapping seals on the left ate it up, but America’s moderates and conservatives saw through CNN’s sycophancy. And now that credibility crisis has reached critical mass.
#5: The hollow chase, and creation, of anti-Trump sentiment.
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Parker: The ratings collapse you mentioned is the result of manufacturing cheap and false outrage for years on end. As of this writing, CNN has lost 90% of its viewers in little over a year of advertiser-coveted demographics. It’s easy to write that and move on, but that is a stunning decline. 90% drops don’t just happen at random; they happen because the product they offered was intentionally empty and devoid of value. They actually had to try to lose this many people. And how did they try? By working people up in a mentally and emotionally unstable lather over constant negative headlines and reporting on former president Donald Trump.
You mentioned the rise of CNN in the early 1990s. Not only did CNN help establish the 24-hour news cycle, it did so with particular aplomb. Though its truth telling has left something to be desired for some time, it wasn’t that long ago in 2018 that its ratings wer ebeing celebrated. It was a Top 10 cable company and was easily the most-watched left-leaning media outlet. By then, though, it was a one-trick pony. Sure, attacking Donald Trump was easy. He was boisterous and blustering, and the feud between Trump and the corporate media basically wrote its own endless stories. The media hated Trump from the beginning, he called them out on it, and then they could report on his attacks on the media. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Of the many problems with that approach, especially in light of witnessing the most vengeful, hate-filled president being given a free pass on the same outlet, is that it was all false. Donald Trump was never what they actually accused him of, whether that was a threat to a free press or a threat to democracy vis-a-vis Russian collusion. It was all clickbait and view bait. Worst of all, the corporate media tango with Democrat interests ensured that any loss of a free press was the result of Jeffrey Zucker and others who made sure to falsely bifurcate the American public down the line of truth and deceit.
Donald Trump has not been president for a full year. In that time, Joe Biden has been nothing short of disastrous. He and his administration are an objective threat to American vitality, sovereignty, and liberty, yet somehow CNN makes sure to malign Trump, his voters, and their worldview. Amazingly, CNN was never watched by us (except to ridicule), which means their own base is even tired of this nonsense. Even they can see through the propaganda. It’s a few years to late, but better late than never.
#4: The reinstatement of legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
PF: It’s not fair to blame CNN, or any other company, for the personal actions of an individual employee. There’s only so much any company can do to monitor or control the behavior of a team member. So, when their top legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was caught spanking his monkey during a Zoom call with colleagues in October 2020, the incident should have been little more than a temporary, profound embarrassment for the network. It’s not CNN’s fault Toobin turned out to be a pervert. But CNN’s handling of the incident’s aftermath is where they showed their true colors and their incompetence.
Jeffrey Toobin is a white man, presumably heterosexual, and doesn’t enjoy any of the other intersectional privileges of the left’s victimhood hierarchy. He’s not handicapped or transgender; he’s not even old enough to claim ageism. CNN could have easily fired Toobin on the spot, thrown him under the bus by denouncing everything about him, expressed regret for ever having hired him in the first place, and simply moved on to another radical, leftwing, failed lawyer to take his place on various programs that no one watches. But they couldn’t help themselves.
Last spring, CNN inexplicably brought Toobin back into the fold and gave him his job back. Toobin made his obligatory apologies, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota essentially called Toobin a moron and asked “what were you thinking?” and then they all moved on as if nothing happened.
CNN’s reinstatement of Toobin is indicative of a larger problem at the network: CNN cares more about preserving their leftwing narratives and supporting progressive ideology than they do about the truth and employee accountability. Jeffrey Toobin wasn’t just caught saying something vulgar or engaging in some flirtatious harassment, he was caught masturbating in full view of other employees, many of whom were women, and he was caught red handed… pun intended. But Jeffrey Toobin is also a loyal member of the radical left, and for that reason he was welcomed back with open arms. CNN has no morals and no scruples; all they have is an agenda.
#3: Don Lemon. Just, Don Lemon.
Parker: In a really short timeframe, and since the Toobin debacle, there have been primetime scandals with both Fredo (you cover that next) and Don Lemon. The list goes on beyond that but these are some pretty big names for whom CNN has seemingly or ostensibly run cover. CNN deserves everything that happens because, in addition to ruining the country with outright lies in its coverage, it condones some truly despicable behavior behind the cameras while lecturing certain Americans of their deplorableness.
Let’s start with Lemon. I am biased, because even if this guy didn’t have skeletons in the closet I would add him to the list for just being a jackass. He is reprehensible on every single program. As just one example he cried when Joe Biden became president live on air because…politics. Here was a guy pretending to report factually and objectively for four years under Trump, and then had no problem lying about suffering from PTSD from a Trump presidency when it was announced Biden would be assuming the office. What a tool.
Good news for me is that he is also a lowlife and a fraud, which CNN knows about and defends. Coming out of the New York Post are two stories that do not shine a positive light at all on Lemon. First, there is the ongoing saga with the alleged sexual misconduct suit from another gentlemen, who claims that Lemon rubbed his own gentials before shoving his hand in his face and asked him whetehr he liked “p**** or d***.” This story first broke in 2018 and simply isn’t going away. Is there merit to it? Is there not?
There is also the more recent revelation that Lemon texted with Jussie Smollett during the police investigation without acknowledging his own role in the ordeal on air. He was so deep in this that Smollett actually took the stand and admitted he learned from Lemon himself, based on his journalism credentials and reporting, that the police had serious doubts of the hoax. Viewers were led to believe that Lemon was impartially reporting on the hate in America against blacks and gays, and could appoeal to their emotions based on the fact that Lemon is also a gay black man. Never mind the whole thing was an obvious hoax.
#2: The network’s handling of the Fredo Fiasco.
PF: Similar to CNN’s handling of the Toobin nonsense, I’m not going to fault them for all of the wrongdoings of Chris “Fredo” Cuomo. Personal responsibility is fundamental for us conservatives, and Fredo alone is responsible for his unprofessionalism in dealing with his brother Andrew’s scandals, not to mention whatever sexual shenanigans Fredo might have been up to. But CNN is absolutely culpable in enabling Fredo.
It was never OK for Fredo to be reporting/commenting on his brother’s governance. In mid-2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo was riding high, thanks to mainstream media minions worshiping every move he made. Andrew was responsible for the deaths of thousands of New Yorkers thanks to his mishandling of nursing homes and COVID, and while he was taking daily bows to an adoring media, he was simultaneously grabbing the asses of female employees. It’s easy to call out Fredo now, but it was never OK. Fredo stroking Andrew on-air was a conflict of interest from the very beginning.
Apparently, CNN just tossed their journalistic standards to the side with the Cuomos, assuming that since everyone was infatuated with the Love Gov, no one would call them out on their fawning. It wasn’t just CNN that oozed leftwing bias during that period, let’s not forget that Andrew Cuomo was incredibly awarded an Emmy for his press conferences. But it was CNN who had Fredo, not just reporting on his brother’s exploits, but opining on him. CNN gave the thumbs up to Fredo to bring his brother on the air and perform their big brother/little brother schtick.
It was outrageous from the beginning, and anyone with any common sense recognized that CNN could never again be trusted as a news source. Fredo reporting on Andrew was beyond unethical for a purported news organization, even if none of the scandals had ever materialized. CNN should have known better, and for that reason CNN is now a laughing stock.
#1: Journalistic malfeasance exposed by the sudden Covid u-turn.
Parker: Ok, we are running up against the clock and neither of us were even able to mention the pedophilia at CNN. I think that says more about CNN for having so many craters in credibility and morality than it does about us not getting to it. We simply hit our word count. But yes, they have pedophiles working for them. That’s not a small issue.
Perhaps it is my recency bias, because the hatred and deceit being venomously spewed toward Trump over five years (and counting) is nothing short of journalistic failure of the highest order. I don’t even know why I use the words journalism and CNN in the same sentence. They are simply an expensive psy-op campaign for globalists. That’s it. Their coverage of Trump exposed enough of that, and for the last two years their coverage of Covid has been nothing short of a gigantic Toobin-esque orgy of fear and panic.
Think back to 2020. We had case and death count tickers constantly reminding us to panic. When it was convenient to sell deaths in Italy, they reported Covid’s lethality. When it was convenient to sell rising case counts in the United States, they reported cases. When outbreaks occurred in red states, they blamed DeSantis for not doing enough. When the worst outbreaks occurred in New York, they applauded Cuomo for his Emmy-winning broadcasts. When it was easy to blame Trump, they wondered why the U.S. was handling Covid so poorly compared to the rest of the world. President Trump was derided for shutting down Chinese air travel, he was lampooned for suggesting the use of hydroxychloroquine, he sent hospital ships to New York that sat empty, and he presided over the development of a vaccine that everyone said couldn’t be made (and wouldn;’t be taken if he were still president).
CNN almost created the genre of Covid fear porn. Masks, lockdowns, social distancing, quarantining, testing, Covid numbers – they pushed it all even though each facet of the public health response was based only on political utility and never on science. They pushed it because it eliminated Trump and constantly consolidated power for the ruling class. A fearful peasantry is always easier to lord over. All along the way, any voice of reason, no matter how credible, was ruthlessly mocked, censored, shrugged off, or simply ignored. There was only one acceptable COvid narrative. To be sure, it changed daily, but CNN helped decide what we could say.
Now, in the last two weeks Brian Stelter and Jake Tapper and all of the rest of them are asking questions they previously scorned. Maybe kids shouldn’t wear masks? Maybe not all of the Covid hospitalizations and deaths were from Covid, but only with Covid? You think?! The demise of CNN cannot happen fast enough. They have lied to the American people for too long without consequences. Maybe we are seeing a reckoning. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of people.
Featured photo by paulbr75 at Pixabay