CNN doubles down on ratings failure, names Trump-hating Don Lemon as Dem debate moderator

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CNN all but dedicated 24/7 coverage to denigrating President Donald Trump over the past 2 1/2 years and now struggles to compete with cable networks like TLC, Investigation Discovery and the Hallmark Channel during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET.

Finishing fifteenth among the most-watched cable networks, CNN averages 761,000 primetime viewers while Fox News Channel averaged 2.4 million.

“CNN is suffering a credibility crisis as viewership for the once-proud network continues to crater with no apparent plan in place to fix things anytime soon, according to media watchdogs and insiders,” Fox News reported.

The network is essentially doubling down on its failure by adding rabid anti-Trump opinion host Don Lemon as a moderator in its upcoming  Democratic presidential primary debate — this being the same Lemon who said “the biggest terror threat in this country is white men.”

As Fox News noted, debate moderators are typically straight-news journalists, but CNN is mimicking NBC’s strategy to allow Rachel Maddow to moderate their Democratic debate last week — they also call Lemon an “anchor” in a transparent attempt to add credibility.

DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall disputes that Lemon is a news anchor because of his partisan take on events.

“He is a host of an opinion-driven show in which his opinions are front and center,” he told Fox News. “Thus, he is a host rather than a news anchor. His show does discuss news topics, but it is not designed as an objective news show.”

As for mimicking another network, a desperate CNN seems to be doing more of that.

It was just reported the network has a plan to emulate Fox News in digital media, as newly revamped audience development team has begun highlighting stories covered by Fox news that it missed.

While the on-air star power at CNN seem content, on the network employees are concerned about the ratings problem, according to what one employee told Fox News.

“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,” the employee said.

Even before CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta released his anti-Trump book, a CNN staffer question whether Acosta should be covering Trump’s White House.

“Jim Acosta is, a lot of times, asking the right questions but it doesn’t always need to be about him and his grandstanding,” the source told Fox. “People get tired of it. Acosta is supposed to be a correspondent reporting the facts but you can’t tell the difference between him and a paid pundit.”

How dismal are the numbers?

CNN’s most popular show, “Cuomo Prime Time,” averaged only 910,000 viewers, according to Fox News, which has 14 programs with a larger audience — MSNBC has 10 programs drawing more eyes.

Citing ratings from the second quarter, as well as early third quarters numbers, The Hill’s media guru Joe Concha told Fox News, “It may only get worse in Q3 given the numbers we’re already seeing.”

“Losing nearly 40 percent of an already-third place audience must be a primary topic in internal meetings, with immediate remedies not readily apparent,” he added.

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