Donald Trump is certainly right about one thing: CNN is failing. Its primetime lineup gets walloped by Fox News and MSNBC on a nightly basis. Several times in the past few weeks, Anderson Cooper’s 8pm show has lost to his time slot rival Tucker Carlson’s re-run at midnight on Fox, according to figures reviewed by Cockburn.
Thursday provides a good example of the cable news primetime hierarchy. At 8pm, 1.8 million people watched MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, 2.6 million people watched Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and just 898,000 watched CNN’s Cooper. (At midnight, 1.1 million watched Carlson’s re-run.)
At 9pm, 2.8 million people watched MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, 3.6 million people watched Fox News’ Sean Hannity, and 867,000 watched the second hour of Cooper’s show.
And at 10pm, 1.6 million people watched MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, 2.7 million watched Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, and 910,000 watched CNN’s Don Lemon.
CNN struggles to break 1 million viewers on a nightly basis.
There are plenty of reasons for this. CNN has to compete with MSNBC for a liberal audience and, unlike MSNBC, its liberal anchors pretend to be unbiased. MSNBC’s primetime anchors are more similar to Fox News’s talent, which embraces its distinctive ideological voice.
But so far, it seems, America is turned off by CNN’s panels of pundits yelling at each other about an aggrieved porn star.