According to a Fox News report, the ratings of CNN and MSNBC, two of the most important mainstream news outlets, had their worst second quarter in 2021 in their entire programming, and former President Donald Trump did not miss the opportunity to mock it in an interview.
“That is probably the only good thing about me not being in office.,” Trump said in an interview. “I just saw some numbers, I guess they’re down 78-79%. Whoever heard of numbers like that? They’re all down, by the way. I see your friend Chris Wallace is way down. So that’s a different one. MSNBC is way down. I mean, numbers that probably they never thought they’d see.”
According to Forbes, CNN lost as much as 68% of its key audience demographic— people between the ages of 25 and 54— in prime time, while MSNBC dropped 48% of its top audience and Fox News 50%.
Tucker Carlson’s show was the most-watched of all cable programs: it garnered nearly 3 million viewers and of the key audience, averaged nearly half a million people, followed by Sean Hannity’s show with 420,000 viewers.
CNN’s most popular program was “Cuomo Prime Time,” which finished No. 22 in cable news for the week, averaging 1.2 million viewers. Despite being CNN’s most-watched program, it still finished behind 14 different Fox News programs and seven MSNBC programs.
MSNBC averaged only 115,000 viewers in the top demographic, compared to 204,000 for Fox News and 160,000 for CNN.
MSNBC was also last in the category during prime time, averaging 198,000 viewers. For its part, CNN, with its full artillery, Anderson Cooper, Cuomo, and Don Lemon, garnered 224,000 viewers in the prime-time slot.
All of MSNBC’s programming suffered historic drops in the prime demographic:
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” had its lowest quarter in the demographic ever.
“The Rachel Maddow Show ” had its worst demo since the second quarter of 2016.
“All in with Chris Hayes” had its worst demo performance since the fourth quarter of 2016.
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” “Morning Joe,” and “MTP Daily” with Chuck Todd had their lowest demo ratings since the fourth quarter of 2015.
Critics point out that these news networks have suffered audience losses due to Trump no longer being in the White House. During his tenure, many simply because they hate the former president, tuned in to these outlets for their constant attacks on Trump.
“CNN and MSNBC were one-trick ponies, and that trick was bashing Trump,” said Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson.
“Now that Trump no longer is president, they have tried to keep up the mania, but it’s hard. The audience has disappeared because it never was loyal to CNN and MSNBC hosts, it was loyal to Trump hatred,” Jacobson added. “It’s not hard to imagine executives at CNN and MSNBC saying nightly prayers that Trump runs for president in 2024.”
However, hatred of Trump, his family, and the values that founded America was not the only thing that damaged the reputation of these media outlets.
In mid-April 2021, a Project Veritas journalist infiltrated CNN and managed to record a technical director of the media, confessing to CNN’s dishonest practices to manipulate people and keep ratings high.
“It’s fear. Fear really drives numbers [TV ratings] … Fear is the thing that keeps you tuned in,” director Charlie Chester says in one of the videos.
The director also admits to using deaths to keep people glued to the TV: “COVID? Gangbusters with ratings, right? Which is why we [CNN] constantly have the [Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus or COVID] death toll on the side, which I have a major problem with—with how we’re tallying how many people die every day.”
“I think there’s an art to manipulation—Inflection, saying things twice—there’s little subtleties to how to manipulate people.”
James O’Keeffe, founder of Project Veritas, released a series of recordings of CNN’s CTO which among other things revealed how they used their power to ‘get Trump out of the White House’ as part of their agenda.