CNN lays off handful of employees shortly after Trump points out the fact that ratings are ‘way down’

CNN, the go-to network for anti-Donald Trump coverage, have announced some major layoffs only a few weeks after calling rumors of letting staff go a “crazy rumor.”

Much of the network’s Atlanta-based staff that covers health stories has been laid off.

(Photos by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images)

Though not too many specific details about the layoffs are known, a source told Fox News that “basically the whole [whole] division” will lose their jobs.

“As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” a CNN spokesperson told TVNewser’s A.J. Katz on Friday. TVNewswer is a media watchdog group.

According to Katz, correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is a name that is safe.Sanjay Gupta, a recognizable neurosurgeon who works for the network, will also remain in his position. Employees being released from their obligations reportedly met with human resources earlier this week.

Katz said the restructuring is rather significant.

“CNN’s Southeast Bureau in Atlanta, CNN Health and CNN Climate will now be under one leadership, something that was not the case before,” said Katz.

CNN Executive Vice President Allison Gollust told Fox News earlier in the month that layoffs were not imminent despite slipping ratings and negative rumors swirling around the network. He did say that a number of employees recently chose to take a “voluntary buyout” that was offered by the network.

“There are no mass layoffs at CNN. I have no idea where that crazy rumor came from. We have recently offered a voluntary buyout option for employees, and just over 100 people voluntarily decided to take it. That’s it,” he said.

He continued, “‎We have nearly 4,000 people at CNN … and around 100 of them exercised the option for a program that was offered. That’s it. Those are the facts.”

One of the employees to accept a “voluntary buyout” was CNN International Executive Vice President Tony Maddox.

The news of this new round of layoffs comes only a short while after President Donald Trump, who often refers to CNN as “fake news,” pointed out that CNN’s ratings are “way down.” He specifically called out one of CNN’s more popular hosts, Don Lemon.

“Wow! CNN Ratings are WAY DOWN, record lows. People are getting tired of so many Fake Stories and Anti-Trump lies. Chris Cuomo was rewarded for lowest morning ratings with a prime time spot – which is failing badly and not helping the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon!” tweeted the president on Thursday.

CNN’s ratings have been especially suffering since the release of the Mueller report. The network’s ratings last week were down a whopping 34 percent in the daytime and 26 percent in primetime since the same week last year when the Mueller investigation was all anyone on the network could talk about. With the final report turning out to be a big-nothing burger, the network has lost a lot of go-to material.

CNN was able to attract an average of less than 700,000 viewers in primetime last week. That’s especially low when you compare to Fox News, which has primetime shows — hosted by Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and others — that regularly bring in millions of viewers.

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