“What’s wrong at CNN?”
With a Politico.com headline like that, you know what’s coming next isn’t all that complimentary.
In fact, the political website, citing folks inside the Atlanta-based “founder of the cable news genre” and pointing to declining ratings, says there is a big fear that CNN has pretty much lost its way as viewers opt for more partisan programming on Fox News and MSNBC.
In this highly charged election year, those rivals want nothing to do with CNN’s straight and narrow nonpartisan approach to newsgathering and delivery, and their growing audience shares at CNN’s expense suggest their partisan and personality driven strategies are working.
To both CNN insiders and outside observers, according to Politico’s three-page report, the network that Ted Turner started in 1980 is now delivering lackluster and stale primetime programming, which reflects the lack of “a cohesive editorial strategy.” The network is seeing its lowest ratings since the first Gulf War, attracting fewer viewers in the second quarter of this year than at any time in the past 21 years, according to Politico. Morale is also at a low point, the report says.
While the network continues to rake in millions in operating profits, mainly due to its global newsgathering operation and the millions cable and satellite distributors pay to carry its programming, Politico says Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes has ordered the network’s top brass to find a solution to its programming issues.
It doesn’t seem, however, that one of the options is moving either to the left or right, which Sam Feist, who oversees CNN’s political coverage, referred to as “picking sides.”
Said a spokesman to Politico, “[W]e always want higher ratings, but not at the expense of nonpartisan, quality journalism.”