CNN viewership drops by 90% as network is plagued by string of scandals
The beginning of 2021 was CNN's bright phase when it became the number one of the cable news world and sent its rival Fox News to third place for the first time since 2000. However, a year later the scenario is just the opposite. Fox News is now on the top while CNN saw an astonishing decline as 90 percent of its viewers – both overall and in the critical demographic – seemed to have lost interest in it.
The most recent ratings stated that the network, which was launched more than four decades ago by Ted Turner, attracted only 548,000 viewers during the week of January 3, a shocking drop from around 2.7 million viewers for the same week last year. The Daily Mail reported that CNN also witnessed “an 86 percent decline in the much-desirable 25-to-54 demographic, with a paltry 113,000 tuned in last week, compared to the 822,000 CNN averaged a year ago.”
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It has been said that the decline of CNN is due to the scandals and controversies it has found itself engulfed in. In December 2021, it fired its star anchor Chris Cuomo after it was found that he was helping his sex-pest brother, Andrew Cuomo, to beat harassment allegations.
Another high-profile anchor of the network, Don Lemon, has also been mired with controversies. He was slammed for covering the trial of Jussie Smollett but he failed to mention his key role in tipping off the actor that Chicago police did not believe he was a victim of a race-hate attack. Not just that, Lemon had also been accused of sexual harassment by a Hampton's bartender Dustin Hice, who claimed that in 2018 at Murf's Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor, the tv journalist stuffed his fingers in his face after rubbing his own genitals.
Apart from the news anchors, a senior producer of CNN also made news for all the wrong reasons. John Griffin, who has reportedly worked closely with Chris, was arrested in December for allegedly grooming underage girls to be sexually submissive and sharing ideas like “woman is a woman regardless of her age” with them. A statement from the Department of Justice on the case mentioned, “From April to July of 2020, Griffin utilized the messaging applications Kik and Google Hangouts to communicate with people purporting to be parents of minor daughters, conveying to them, among other ideas, that a ‘woman is a woman regardless of her age,’ and that women should be sexually subservient and inferior to men.”
Critics have blamed CNN’s boss Jeff Zucker for its dropping numbers and accused him of “protecting perverts and pedophiles”. The Spectator’s Washington editor Amber Athey has said, “Zucker has managed to simultaneously protect perverts and pedophiles as well as oversee a massive decline in ratings.”
And, journalist Drew Holden told Fox News Digital: “Given the sheer number of public sexual misconduct allegations – from harassment and child sexual violence to abusing one’s journalistic credentials to try to silence women who have made allegations – it’s fair to ask whether these are indicative of a broader cultural rot at the network that’s being papered over as they focus on other priorities.”
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall stated: “CNN is surely suffering through a string of professional blunders. It would be difficult to necessarily connect all of these mistakes directly to Zucker, but he is still the head of CNN and at some point has to be held accountable for what's going on there,” as he added: “He is responsible for the culture in which underlings felt these misjudgments were OK. Aside from the string of professional missteps, it would seem Zucker should at least shoulder responsibility for the cratering ratings of this once-proud news organization. The ratings struggles alone at this channel should cause concern in the upper hierarchy of CNN's parent company.”