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FOX on top (again) … but CNN is the real story

FOX on top (again) … but CNN is the real story

FOX News has had an unbroken leadership in cable news for an unprecedented 40 months — with an occasional exception in previous years.  In most past ratings reports, FOX has attracted more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined – most notably in the all-important 25 to 54 age demographics.  In the most recent week, MSNBC attracted 111,000 with CNN drawing a paltry 83,000.

No matter how hard CNN – calling itself “the most trusted name in news” — and especially MSNBC tries to discredit FOX as an illegitimate news source, the public shows a remarkable degree of devotion to the more “fair and balanced” Network.  While its editorial policy leans right, it provides news in the more journalistic tradition.  It provides opportunities for left-wing views to be expressed and debated – and provides the public with a lot of non-political news and features.

MSNBC has found success by being the most biased network. It loads the daily schedule with left-wing propaganda – literally censoring opposing views.  It has become the go-to Network for the already persuaded and the gullible.  It is a spin machine for Democrats with emphasis on the radical left.  MSNBC has found a constituency, but the Network appears to have reached the limit of its market. 

The real story has been the fall of CNN as the leader in cable news.  It was the originator of 24/7 news and commentary – initially with an emphasis on traditional news reporting.  The introduction and success of MSNBC created a gravitational force that pulled CNN to the left and into a left-wing editorial spin in an effort to compete.

It seemed that CNN’s initial competitive strategy was to become progressive-lite in an attempt to draw from both FOX and MSNBC. If that was their thinking, it was woefully mistaken.  CNN’s lean to the left, if not total emersion, did no damage to FOX.  It may have even driven politically moderate viewers to FOX.

It was the competitive failure with MSNBC that sealed CNN’s fate and led to a precipitous drop in viewership.  The most recent Nielson report gave CNN its worst rating in prime-time viewers in more than 30 years.

This should come as no surprise in view of the current CNN lineup.

There was a moment in time when CNN appeared to understand their problem.  Why would left-wing Democrat viewers choose progressive-lite when MSNBC was offering them the red meat?

There was a time when new ownership seemed to see the problem and started moving in the right direction – literally and figuratively.  It was when David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros./Discovery Channel, purchased CNN.  He placed Chris Licht in charge of programming with the promise to bring CNN back to the center – and to what he called “traditional journalism.”

This was the era that saw the departure of Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon and Media Critic Brian Stelter, White House Reporter John Harwood among others.  The hard left morning team of John Berman and Brianna Keilar was replaced – sending both of them to less prominent roles at the Network.  This was followed by a series of experimental personnel changes in the morning show, featuring Phil Mattingly, Poppy Harlow and – and for a short while, Kaitlan Collins.

But then things changed.  Licht was canned and the network went on a Hell-bent shift to the left—further than before.  That culminated in appointing Mark Thompson as the new boss – commissioned to turn around the network’s feeble ratings. 

Thompson has made an obvious attempt to reach Black viewers.  Not sure how that strategy works but the new lineup makes the decision obvious.  The Victor Blackwell morning show is virtually taken up with all-Black content.  Abby Phillip, host of “Inside Politics Sunday” was given the anchor position at 10 p.m.  She is followed by Laura Coates at 11.  Both provide heavy emphasis on Black issues.

Mattingly, Harlow and Collins all disappeared from the morning show – with Harlow exiting CNN altogether.  Against all logic, Thompson brought back John Berman to co-anchor the morning show.

CNN attempted to fill the 9 p.m. slot with a catchy named show, “King Charles,” featuring Gail King and Charles Barkley.  The show failed miserably and was replaced with “The Source” hosted by the ever-acerbic Kaitlan Collins.

It appears that after losing the rating battle to MSNBC in the past, the Network has decided to give that strategy another go.  Based on the latest rating numbers – which reflect most of the changes noted above — the strategy is not working any better the second time around.

I suspect that CNN will limp along until they secure a management team that can correctly diagnose their problem and fix it with yet another revamping plan.

I see only three bright spots for CNN.  Their most interesting and unbiased person in the stable is Michael Smerconish – and they bury him in the 9 a.m. slot on Saturday morning.   In a previous commentary, I suggested they give him one of the primetime spots. 

CNN could get a bump in the ratings as the campaign goes on.  The Network tends to do better as the political campaigns become more intense.  CNN also maintains dominance overseas.  It is often the only American television news station to appear in a foreign country – and is often seen overseas in airports, restaurants and hotel lobbies.

I do not believe that doubling down on their past failures is going to improve CNN’s ratings.  Quite the contrary.  But we are not privy to the internal polls.  Perhaps Thompson sees something not apparent to us outside observers.  But I will still bet on more changes, a new lineup with new faces, in the future – and a new boss at the top – when ratings fail to improve.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

11 Comments

  1. frank stetson

    IF FOX is on top but MSM rules the roost, controls all news, issues propaganda that hits home ——- how does that work? If FOX has all the viewers, how can MSM having all the channels even matter? If you have a problem with the news, isn’t that FOX by definition? Either they are the 800lb gorilla, or you are scared of your own shadow, or worse ——– both?

    Reply
    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … Either you are off your meds or on the bottle again. Honestly, this response makes no sense whatsoever. FOX is on top but MSNBC “rules the roost” Who said MSNBC rules? MSNBC has “all the channels”? Where did that come from — and what does it even mean? Having problem with the news is FOX by definition. Makes no sense. Who is the 800 lb gorilla? And who is scared of their own shadow … or worse???? What is your point. It is all incoherent gibberish.

      Reply
      • Frank stetson

        MSM, not MSNBC. Mr. Horist. Try again.

        Reply
        • larry Horist

          Frank Setson. .. I stand corrected. But I am still not sure what you mean that MSM “rules the roost.”

          Reply
    • Tom

      I have been listening to these NY Manhattan lawyers and former DA’s explaining the Trump Hush money case and then I listed to what FOX news states about the case, usually Hannity and Ingraham. And then I listen to MSNBC, usually Morning Joe then later in the day Nicole Wallace, to see how they report the day in court. FOX is the premiere distributor for the cocaine-like lies that addict so many MAGA’s. Hannity and Ingraham are the main pushers of this addictive misinformation. FOX reports what Trump parrots in his tweets. MSNBC seems to report exactly what happened in court and most of what they report is inline with what the NY lawyers and former DA’s are saying in their explanations of the day’s events.

      Example: Listen to Hannity on Trump’s tweet about FBI use of force and that he was close to being assassinated (Trump MAGA cocaine). Then listen to Merrit Garlin and the FBI and their explanation of the boilerplate language in federal search warrants which is the same warrant used to search Biden’s location. Yet Biden does not feel anything wrong with the search or the document, nor did he feel any assassinatin attempt.

      Reply
  2. Darren

    I do not remember Biden being invaded by Air, Sea, And Land as they stormed through his Garage?
    Why did I not hear about the first lady’s under wear drawer be exposed and gone through?
    Why didn’t the FBI storm through in the middle of the night with camera’s rolling?
    Were guns drawn when they went into Biden’s garage?
    Funny you used the word Cocaine, did they check Hunters old room?
    Had the FBI done these things and CNN showed this you may have an argument.
    Again, this is why CNN is LAST!
    This kind of thinking that it is even.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Biden was not invaded nor did he feel invaded. He was cooperating. The warrant language is the same with or without cooperation.
      Underwear drawer was reported, maybe you were busy with your guns at the time.
      The FBI did not storm. They called Mara Lago to make sure Trump was not there and that folks knew they were coming. Same with Biden.
      Body armor and pistols are standard equipment for all FBI searches. This is contained in the warrant that both places received.
      Hunter is not relevant to this discussion. I was using cocaine as an addiction metaphor.
      I do not watch CNN. Ask them.

      Reply
    • frank stetson

      Come on Darren. You can’t see the difference in a consensual versus nonconsensual search? Biden, Pence, and any other President were not raided because they either gave up the documents or had a voluntary search.

      Trump hid the documents are would not give them back. He lied about it. Then he said weapons drawn, they had shoot to kill authorization. That’s just boiler plate text on any search. He not only lied about, but convinced people to give him money because of it to fund his campaign that he no longer funds himself. He lied about all of that.

      The FBI contacted Trump’s Secret Service to arrive with them and were equipped with standard weapons, plain clothes, and bolt cutters to jointly enter under the SS’s eyes. I cannot find where guns were drawn. That seems a lie.

      Yes, they went through Melania’s closet. She opted for the underwear change, there is no info they touched any of it, or touched it without wearing those little blue gloves. The rest of us would have run a load of wash…… NTW == she will claim the purchase as a business expense after donating the used undies for a charity write-off to the Trump Foundation.

      Reply
      • Tom

        All true Frank except I do not know anything about her undies. If I were buying them, I would make sure they were not washed.

        And update on this situation, the FBI also came across a tape recording where Trump actually relocated off site some documents so the Feds could not find them. That is big time obstruction.

        Reply
        • frank stetson

          Tom,
          You know there’s still more documents. Turnip was showing them to folks at his NJ club.

          I do not follow Melania’s panties either; that tasty tidbit came for Darren who obviously does. Apparently, each of the Republicans attending the trial sported a part in support of the Don and for luck, although Melania’s panties haven”t been lucky for Don. She sleeps alone according to reports. Archie wants to try some of them on, but Horist already has his own from the Pat Nixon days. Joe G. isn’t interested, he goes commando. Or at least that’s what I heard. I hear that Trump will be auctioning off her old undies on Trust Social at $10,000 a pair unwashed. $5 for washed.

          Reply
      • Harry

        You must have been involved with the raid or at least the plan?

        Reply

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