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Halfway through 2019, CNN is finding its ratings tumbling as one recent decision brings its credibility as a new source into question.
The second quarter ratings for cable shows revealed that CNN’s average daily audience was 541,000 total viewers, while Fox News averaged 1.3 million viewers, Fox News reported.
The disparity in prime time was even more dramatic, during which Fox News was king and CNN was in 15th place, averaging 761,000 viewers to Fox’s 2.4 million.
CNN’s second-quarter viewership average was 18 percent below its numbers for 2018, Forbes noted.
In the key 25-54 age bracket, CNN plummeted 38 percent.
It might get worse, said Joe Concha, who reports on the media for The Hill.
“The numbers warrant concern, yes. Q2 was a particularly news-rich quarter highlighted by the release of the Mueller report and all the aftermath and controversy following it, plus the launch of several high-profile Democratic candidacies including Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg to propel 2020 coverage into high gear,” Concha told Fox.
“It may only get worse in Q3 given the numbers we’re already seeing.”
He might already be right. During the week of July 4, CNN “averaged only 165,000 A25-54 viewers in prime time, the network’s lowest average since 2015,” according to Adweek’s TV Newser.
President Donald Trump noted CNN’s difficulties in a flaming tweet.
“Wow, @CNN RATINGS HAVE CRASHED. LOST ALL CREDIBILITY!” Trump tweeted Friday.
Wow, @CNN RATINGS HAVE CRASHED. LOST ALL CREDIBILITY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
Fox News quoted CNN employees it did not name as saying the numbers are a cause for deep concern within the network, which has been reducing its workforce through buyouts.
“The people that are concerned — it’s certainly not the anchors who have lucrative contracts — it’s the people among the lower levels, such as producers and show bookers,” Fox quoted what it said was one unnamed CNN employee as saying.
“Losing nearly 40 percent of an already third-place audience must be a primary topic in internal meetings, with immediate remedies not readily apparent,” Concha said.
Another employee quoted by Fox voiced the hope that CNN might do something different, but a recent decision has only added to the issues facing the network.
CNN recently announced that anchor Don Lemon — who uses his show to promote his anti-Trump opinions — will be a moderator at the July Democratic presidential debate that the network is hosting.
Conservative strategist Chris Barron called that decision “a disservice to voters all across the political spectrum” because Lemon is so openly biased.
“They are more interested in the political version of a church revival than an actual debate,” Barron told Fox.
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall said CNN should stop pretending Lemon is an unbiased news anchor.
“He is a host of an opinion-driven show in which his opinions are front and center. Thus, he is a host rather than a news anchor,” McCall told Fox. “His show does discuss news topics, but it is not designed as an objective news show.”
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor thinks Lemon’s selection was no accident.
“He says so many things that even liberals are embarrassed by him,” Gainor told Fox.
“But in reality, we know why he was chosen. He was picked so CNN can remind its audience of liberals that it is part of the resistance.”