Report: Morale taking a hit at CNN

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

“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.”

278 comments Add your comment

Joe the Archaeologist

June 27th, 2012
2:08 pm

Funny how the lack of pronounce right slant is perceived as a left slant. Just shows you what a good job Murdock has done of dragging MSM to the right.

Truth Squad

June 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

CNN started to go downhill when it started to try and compete with Fox. They tried to bring in pundits better suited for Fox, but as the comments suggest, there is nothing they can do to capture Fox viewers.

If they want to be “nonpartisan”, then they should hire somebody from PBS to come run the place. That is close to as “nonpartisan” as we’re going to get in the U.S. I would humbly suggest that you cannot be “nonpartisan” and have partisans on your network dispensing conventional wisdom.

Lastly, how about trying some diversity in your anchors? Fox is probably more diverse in that regard than is CNN. Younger viewers are going with MSNBC in part because of their diversity of anchors. No offense to Rev. Sharpton, but when he is kicking your butt in the ratings, maybe that is a clue.

I’m not hopeful that they will change much as long as they are making money.

GBO

June 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

The problem iwth all of the TV news is it isn’t news anymore…it is all commentary dissguised as news. I’m somewhat conservative, but 90% of the drivel on Fox and MSNBC just angers me. I wold rather seitch to the BBC and at least get news without an agenda. Between the Internet and cable news, there is no news anymore. Where did journalists go?

Chuck

June 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

Todd Pritchett, fantastic idea! I’d love to see that show.

kirk

June 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

Wait, can anybody care to name all the blondes on Fox News? Or guess as to how many of them are over there?

jed

June 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

Non partisan???? Has anyone seen a Soledad O’Brien interview lately??? She is a liberal media workhorse!!! That’s why I quit watching CNN!!

sdc

June 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

What did they expect-it’s either non-news or their liberal biased version as it always appears to be a new low for which the Mainstream Media will stoop to protect the Obama administration from itself… . CNN-Communist News Network!
Miss Ted!!!

Stephanie

June 27th, 2012
2:10 pm

I agree with Todd Pritchett’s assessment. If CNN would read it and strongly take it into consideration, I believe they would benefit immensely. CNN has become a ‘celebrity” news outlet. The late evenings and weekends are the equivalent of E! News, and Erin Burnett is annoying and non-enlightening. I do believe CNN should be save by being the being the news channel that seeks the truth. Republicans don’t have the courage to go on MSNBC, (except for Morning Joe), and Democracts don’t have the courage to go on Fox, but both parties will talk to CNN…CNN should capitalize on that. Until such time… I’ve left the programming.

Concerned

June 27th, 2012
2:10 pm

So Gwen what you’re saying is Solidad/Soilidad, whatever, is a #$%&^. That’s really too nice of a compliment. I’m not sure if I dislike her more or that other lady named Ashley in the morning. Both of them are obnoxious.

RaenaVaLuraLaNoraMariaTyeshaKim1Kim2

June 27th, 2012
2:10 pm

What is CNN? We are fine ATL dymes but have NO clue what this article is about.

David

June 27th, 2012
2:10 pm

Just report the news, get rid of the flashy sets, dump the drama music, and cut the number of commercials by 50%.

American

June 27th, 2012
2:11 pm

I know a guy who worked at CNN for 20+ years. He told me he read the news stories as they came into the newsroom and he watched as the stories were later rewritten with a favorable slant to the left. The medias agenda for reporting the news to benefit the liberal point of view has been exposed, its downhill for them now. Sadly 40% of the population does not have a clue,they believe what they are told without checking the facts.

Fan

June 27th, 2012
2:11 pm

You reap what you sow. When you only report selective news slanted to the left, what did y’all expect? CNN has for years and even decades been slanted to the left, called the Clinton News Network and worse. MSNBC or NBC won’t be far behind with their selective editing and news reporting going on.

albert

June 27th, 2012
2:12 pm

Well their problem is that being the Conservative News Network doesn’t work. All of the other networks nicely fill the world with the rightwing agenda instead of news.

CNN, go back to news. The others are not CNN”s competition, they are E!’s competition or Animal Planet’s competition etc.

ideas

June 27th, 2012
2:14 pm

First of all if CNN thinks it is neutral, they have a big problem. MSNBC is far far out left of even left. CNN is left and believed by ignorant people. The left leaning of CNN started when it started with its owner who is so left he is half way crazy. So Time-Warner did not change anything. Fox has some right leaning people (Hannitiy) but for the most part they are more neutral than any other news cast. You have to wonder why FOX is watched more than all the others. It is because they are more normal like everyday people. Only those that live in such a warped world that they would think CNN is neutral.

albert

June 27th, 2012
2:15 pm

None of Fox is neutral. None of it, period. One would have to be a clueless child to not recognize that.

CNNSucks

June 27th, 2012
2:20 pm

Fire the entire crew and get ppl in their that can actually BE BIPARTISAN… b/c they are NOT… I can’t stand Soledad and I won’t even discuss the other anchors.. get it together..

sparky

June 27th, 2012
2:21 pm

C – certainly
N – not
N – non-biased

Any farther left – they would be communists

GBO

June 27th, 2012
2:23 pm

One of the problems (and i was a journalism and communications major in college) is that ll of the media outlets have sold themselves out for ‘audience’. people have a bad habit of believing what they want to hear is true…left and right. My stepfather, a staunch democrat, actually believes the crap on MSNBC. I know people who actually believe that Fox is actually “fair and balanced”, and for the one above who suggested that PBS is fair, you ust not have listened to the same PBS I have, it is so far to the left in its political coverage that balance isn’t even in the equation.

It isn’t confined to broadcast either. The Neew york Times doesn’t even try to look neutral, and in DC try reading the same story coverage by the Washington Post and the Washington times…you won’t even recognize the same facts in a story.

Give me BBC or Sky News or Reuters, and even though they have their leanings, at least it isn’t an agenda…and yes CNN is left, but sometimes it does try to cover both sides some…but not often. I wish it would choose to report ‘news’, I’d listen/watch.

Al B. Bach

June 27th, 2012
2:24 pm

I get most of my news from the web, and I listen to NPR on the radio.
Some people would say that I must be a liberal if I listen to NPR, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I am an old-school Southern Democrat who isn’t afraid to vote Republican when I see the need, and I think NPR has really good programming.
If I watch news on TV (usually at the airport) I watch CNN.
I feel like anyone who watches Fox or CNBC is not cool. Watching those networks and thinking you are getting the news isn’t naive. It’s downright stupid. And if you find them entertaining then you have a whole separate set of problems that probably cannot be fixed.

GBO

June 27th, 2012
2:25 pm

oh and sorry for the typos…can spell but can’t type well. Wish this had a spell check.

Biased

June 27th, 2012
2:26 pm

@roswellian: AJC read the tea leaves, and they are turning the corner; they are certainly much less left than they were in recent years. Their decision not to replace Cynthia Tucker with another hyper-liberal was a big step. They still need to deal with Mike Luckovich. The fact that he won an Pulitzer Prize probably damages the Pulitzer more than it elevates Luckovich. While neither of those two were front page contributors, they both reflected the orientation of the AJC and they affected the orientation of the AJC.

If you are looking for examples, this article and the responses quality.

Henry D.

June 27th, 2012
2:28 pm

I almost fell out of my chair at that stupid comment about straight non-partisan crap. I agree with the folks above. CNN is one step above MSNBC and that channel is just pure trash!

jerry

June 27th, 2012
2:28 pm

If you would like to watch a conservative station, watch Fox Business News. They have Republican guests galore, and bash unions endlessly. They also don’t hesitate to daily call for cutting Medicare and Social Security (probably because they are afraid their wealthy constituents will have to help pay for it), therefore they spend a great deal of time voicing their objections to any tax raise on the wealthy. Personally, I don’t like my news slanted left or right.

drew

June 27th, 2012
2:31 pm

Ha ! As a former journalist who has thought about applying at CNN I can tell you the job postings detail an enormous amount of effort for very little pay. Bottom line – CNN wants experts in everything insead of opting for more community journalism. It’s on life-support for sure…

CNN

June 27th, 2012
2:32 pm

Hey Billy Mays! CNN was over the edge when you were alive. You shouldn’t have snorting so much oxyclean.

Midtown123

June 27th, 2012
2:33 pm

CNN isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but if you don’t like it, then don’t watch or read it. The next thing we know, people will start saying thatFox News isn’t part of the mainstream media and covers every story fairly. Oh wait…

tennesseered

June 27th, 2012
2:34 pm

Enter your comments here

chatarri

June 27th, 2012
2:34 pm

CNN – non-partisan…..Wow, I needed a good laugh today.

Five Year Old

June 27th, 2012
2:36 pm

Yeah! You shouldn’t have snorting so much oxycleans.

Stephen

June 27th, 2012
2:37 pm

When CNN became the Wolf Blitzer Show, I tuned out. He’s about as engaging as saw dust.

Can We Talk?

June 27th, 2012
2:38 pm

Wow, the supporters of CNN only seem to be able to say they are not Fox, MSNBC, etc.
And, those responses denigrating CNN, well, perception is reality.
If I worked at CNN, I would read this blog and try to think about how to change the image .
Most people seem to perceive a bias-deal with it.
Personalities are less important today than the news.If some one likes you, all is well, if not it’s poison- De-emphasize them, there is too much downside risk.
A good story is a good story- do them, in depth with experts-not pundits- or dinosaurs.
Political coverage should NEVER include representatives from either party past or present to offer opinion journalism. They are partisan. I would rather see my neighbor tell me what he thinks about some issue than the party lines, whatever they may be.
News ought to be about how it affects me, my community, my country, not some personality cult of celebrity full of puffery, position and power. Boil it down to why it is important to me. If you can’t, its not a story.
I stopped watching CNN because it was not reporting much of anything I had not heard before.Or, reported it in a way that presented a vested interest. I do not need a news service that does not report news.
Get out of the studios and do the stories, I guarantee they are out there.

tennesseered

June 27th, 2012
2:38 pm

Cable News Network

Chicken Noodle News

Clinton News Network

Communist News Network

BravesFan79

June 27th, 2012
2:38 pm

l lost respect for them after they fired Lou Dobbs for talking about mexican violence spreading into America. Freedom of speech? Not on cnn!

tennesseered

June 27th, 2012
2:39 pm

Wolf Blister

George T.

June 27th, 2012
2:40 pm

CNN to the Left- FOX to the right- Ignore all talking heads and research for yourself.

Daily Show Watcher

June 27th, 2012
2:40 pm

Fox News is custom tailored to suit the entertainment/faux-news needs of middle-class idiots who at some point got the idea they were smart.
Just because you watched Fox News all day and now have the ability to offer a political opinion, don’t make the mistake of thinking that anyone else thinks you’re smart or cares what you have to say.
Just put it on a bumper sticker and stfu.

@eidsonb

June 27th, 2012
2:41 pm

Fox does not lean either left or right in its REPORTING….however the OPINION shows are both on the Big Fox and Fox Business but you know going in that is the way it is. The news is just the news…”just the facts ma’am”. MSNBC is openly left in both and CNN puts up a good fight but tilts to the left in both. I will say this about FOX and CNN they usually have both sides of the argument in the opinions shows unlike MSNBC with Ed, Rachel and Lawrence.

RixPolitx

June 27th, 2012
2:42 pm

Mr. Seward,

Please do not dismiss this point as “just another right-winger” claiming bias, but as others have pointed out, CNN stopped being unpartisan a looooong time ago. I mean, come on, the founder was married to Jane Fonda for Pete’s sake! Watch HOW the folks like Blitzer, King, O’Brien, Lemon and others ask questions to the Democrats vs. Republicans. Any objective observer would have to see the bias in the softballs and unchallenged questions to Dems vs. confrontational ones offered up to Repubs. I watch Fox and they almost ALWAYS has opposing views in every segment. CNN’s idea of fair-and-balanced political coverage panel is to have host Blitzer (left), with Martin (Left), Brazile (Left), Gergen (wishy wash, but recently Left), and Castellanos (token Right). Think I’m just exaqgerating?

James

June 27th, 2012
2:42 pm

CNN was the only channel I watched for many years (Ted’s years)! Now, they’re so far left leaning it’s sickening and it’s easy to see how partisan they’ve become over the years. And, that goes for the network news as well! MSM…take heed, we’re sick of lies and BS; we want the truth and not opinions! CNN hopefully is witnessing its own demise! Yay!

Pirate

June 27th, 2012
2:42 pm

I watch CNN every day. I can’t comment on the other 2: I want news, not neo con opinions or far left opinions. A couple of things that have bothered me about CNN are 1) interviewing all these Washington “think tank” type people who are obviously shills for their party, right down to the bullet points they’ve been provided by their respective party press people. I can’t tell you how often I’ve hit mute as soon as I see/hear those people. Way to much of that. 2) Some of the anchoring has gotten a little too casual. A little too much laughing, joking, etc. If I want that, I’ll watch the View. 3) I’ll say this for CNN; when the heat is on, and there is a major story breaking, they kick Fox’s @$$. And MSNBC.

Daniel

June 27th, 2012
2:42 pm

Im sorry, but CNN is anything but Straight and Narrow, its extremely left wing

Nigel

June 27th, 2012
2:45 pm

CNN and MSNBC doesn’t pretend to be unbiased or leaning to one side. I wish I could say the same for Fox News, who obviously bats for the extreme right, with it’s “fair and balanced” slogan. Fox starts it spin early with Fox & Friends and ends with Greta in the evening; thank goodness for Shepard, the only host in Fox that has credibility for being fair and balanced.

RixPolitx

June 27th, 2012
2:45 pm

Notice how you can always tell the huber leftwinger? They are the ones that always say Faux News. How about some new monikers folks? The bottom line is: it’s not that I necessarily LIKE Fox, but I need to watch it to balance out MSNBC, NBC, CNN, and Comedy Central (where most of the park-dwelling 99 percenters get their news).

news Junkie

June 27th, 2012
2:46 pm

Impartial? Middle of the Road? No wonder CNN is having problems if this is the view they see in the mirror. None of the major news outlits are bipartisan. CNN’s problem is that it is attempting to masquerade as unbiased but falls well short of the that middle line. I used to watch CNN exclusively but the programming standards are now so low it is not worth the effort. I read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. One from the left and one from the right—so I might get a balanced view. I have completely turned out TV news unless something major is happening.

Barry's Brother

June 27th, 2012
2:47 pm

Ok, I get it. And it is funny. Tell me again how Fox News has guests on their shows who offer opinions from both sides of the political spectrum.
See, this is why you’re stupid. Anyone with half a brain can see that the guy on the left is an inarticulate straw man.

Bill B.

June 27th, 2012
2:48 pm

I suspect many right-wingers believing CNN is left-wing rarely, if ever, watch it. CNN, overall, shoots down the middle-unfortunately giving both sides when, sometimes, there’s only one side. Overall, CNN is pretty bad-a lot of hype-like constantly previewing up-coming events in a program 3 or 4 times (Wolf does it the most) and then the actual story is about as detailed and long as the hyped previews–all tactics of trashy local news. CNN is catching up with Fox “News” with all the bimbos. While CNN is bad, the others are terrible.

CNN, on most panel discussions, has an equal contingent of left and right–unfortunately too many commentators with financial interests–party hacks . . .

Of course, the reason so many right-wingers think CNN is so left leaning is because right-wingers have lost all traces of moderation. This is no moderation in the Rep. Party–it’s gone bats&^$. The current Demo Party and Administration are about as liberal as the Eisenhower Administration–the Nixon Administration-domestically, makes Obama look like Reagan.

FLA Alum

June 27th, 2012
2:50 pm

Non-partisan my a$$. Stopped reading when I saw this.

RixPolitx

June 27th, 2012
2:54 pm

I watched Fox News this past weekend and was treated to multiple doses of Juan Williams, Santita Jackson, Kirsten Powers, Bob Beckel, Geraldo Rivera, Lesley Marshall, Jemu Greene, and others. These people are REGULARS. Praytell, who are the rightwing regulars on MSNBC? Maybe they’re there, but I just can’t get past their hosts. (BTW, only with the English language can one use 3 homonyms in one sentence!)

Class of '98

June 27th, 2012
2:55 pm

Anchor Don Lemon agrees that people who don’t like Obama’s policies are racists.

Straight, narrow and unbiased? I don’t think so.