CNN’s on-air mentions, relentless fixation on Fox News craters after Zucker gets the boot

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Since Jeff Zucker resigned as president of CNN on Feb. 2, it seems the incessant mentions of Fox News have dropped dramatically at the network as it desperately tries to survive an apocalyptic ratings drop.

This is the assessment of journalist Colby Hall who put forth the observation in an opinion piece published Monday at Mediaite, where he is also noted as Editor at Large.

CNN has pretty much always not only viewed Fox News as their biggest competitor but as a serious threat to their survival. Zucker saw the relationship between former President Donald Trump and Fox News as a major story and proceeded to fixate on it, according to the Mediaite piece. He called it “state-run television.” That move painted the network as a leftist propaganda outlet and gave an amazing amount of promotion to Fox News.

The author is by no means a fan of conservatives, Trump, or Fox News, but he is questioning CNN’s obsession with the conservative network.

“But how does a rival network report the political rhetoric of a competitor without promoting the competitor? If the consistently absurd and asinine comments made by Tucker Carlson are covered regularly on CNN, eventually many viewers are going to tune into Fox News at 8 p.m. to see what he’s saying. In fact, a recent Nielsen/MRI poll showed that more young democrats tune into Tucker Carlson Tonight over any other show,” Hall noted.

“But according to transcripts, there has been something of an editorial shift since Feb. 2 when Jeff Zucker left CNN’s Hudson Yards offices for the last time as the network’s president,” he continued.

“In January, CNN mentioned ‘Fox’ on-air an average of 100 times per week. But in the first three weeks of February, the average number of ‘Fox’ mentions dwindled by two-thirds down to 34. If one looks at average daily mentions, Fox was uttered roughly 13 times per day from Jan. 1 to Feb. 2, and five times per day, on average, since,” Hall pointed out.

The writer stated that he used TVEyes to do his research.

He took a gratuitous jab at the network saying that it may have been less newsworthy recently and claimed that Fox News “went all-in on a false charge of Hillary Clinton being caught spying on Trump, a story that many on Fox News claimed was ‘worse than Watergate.'” Then he turned to how Zucker would have gone after the story.

“Under Zucker, this would have been a perfect story for CNN to cover. It was clearly bad journalism, the sort that Brian Stelter, Brianna Keilar, and Jim Acosta often revel in calling out, presumably to the delight of their viewers. But the coverage was remarkably muted, perhaps even refreshingly so?” Hall asked.

“This brings us back to the challenge that CNN faces in covering Fox News. They aren’t true competitors, firstly. Fox News dominates ratings, but in part, because it is less committed to the truth than it is making partisan attacks. It’s a strange, partisan lifestyle channel packaged as news. While Fox sometimes DOES cover the news, CNN boasts a much stronger news-gathering operation — though it has leaned into more left-of-center opinion programming in recent years,” he disingenuously and incorrectly asserted.

“As I have written before, CNN’s challenge with covering Fox News is one of tone. When CNN hosts push back on personal, often ugly, attacks they get from Fox News hosts and do so with the same level of bombast (plus sanctimony), it’s a turn-off for viewers eager to consume proper news. Fox News has successfully pulled some CNN hosts into a pro-wrestling dynamic that has hurt CNN far more than Fox,” Hall said, ostensibly blaming Fox News somehow for CNN’s downfall which instead had everything to do with not reporting the news and scandals from within.

“I believe CNN should continue to cover Fox News, particularly now that their commitment to the truth seems to have ebbed dramatically. But it should do so in a manner that is consistent with the journalistic standards it aims to upheld: with a dispassionate tone completely devoid of the sanctimony that I believe has hurt their ratings,” the author concluded, missing the mark on the actual reason that CNN has crashed and burned.

Forbes is reporting that CNN’s ratings data compiled by Nielsen shows deep declines in viewership across all-day viewings — total day and prime time. Through February 15, CNN’s average prime time audience among viewers 25-54, which is the key demographic valued by advertisers, was just 126,000, representing a 69 percent drop from the same period one year ago. Among total viewers, the average audience was 534,000, a decline of 68 percent from 2021.

While leftists try to blame Fox News for the downfall of the liberal network, CNN did this all to themselves and many recognize that stark fact:


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