CNN’s ratings continue to tank, with the primetime numbers recently hitting their lowest level in 20 years.
Is it because the network refuses to do what competitors FOX and MSNBC have done–pick a side?
One of the journalism industry’s peer review boards, the Columbia Journalism Review, recently set out to find out.
A CJR contributor, Michael Massing, watched CNN one evening, and then wrote up his thoughts.
His article was entitled “Dumb and Dumber.”
Basically, Massing concludes, no one watches CNN because CNN is… “conventional, unimaginative, repetitive, and—most damning of all—boring.”
Here are some Massing highlights:
- “Between 4 p.m., when Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room begins, and 11 p.m., when Anderson Cooper finishes his second hour (a replay of the first), CNN basically features a succession of babbling anchors interviewing a series of talking heads, with clips from reporters in the field occasionally spliced in…”
- ” The network apparently thinks that having Paul Begala on to trade soundbites with Ari Fleischer makes for riveting TV.”
- “At 7 p.m., there’s Erin Burnett. In recent days, she’s been hotly pursuing a major story—the supposed explosion in the use of the bath salt Cloud 9 and its link to cannibalistic behaviour. Watching her interview a toxicologist over the tag “DEA warns of Cannibal Drug,” I wondered how she ever managed to get a full hour in prime time.”
- “Anderson Cooper, you’d think that someone with an hour to fill every night would devote himself full time to the job…”
- “[Piers] Morgan’s show is truly fatuous… Morgan was brought in January 2011 to replace Larry King. [In] an embarrassing rebuke to the CNN brass, his ratings have dipped even lower than King’s…”
There’s more like that. It’s all brutal.
Massing does say that he likes one CNN show, Fareed Zakaria’s GPS.
Unfortunately, that one airs on Saturday, when no one’s watching TV.
Anyone else have any ideas? What’s wrong with CNN? Let us know in the comments below.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.