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Brian Stelter was mad. That alone is not newsworthy, as many on-air personalities over at the Apple Network have been perturbed for two and a half years now. But what he was in a snit over was both odd and completely lacking in self-awareness, a condition CNN has suffered for some time now.
Unsurprisingly, it was tweeting from the White House that sparked the reaction. Stelter was set off by President Trump making a number of comments and tweets in support of the news channel One America News Network (OANN). The notably right-leaning outlet has been a favorable source of news for the president, and in return (as a reward?) he has lately been touting the channel in his feed.
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Stelter was having none of it. CNN’s self-appointed media watchdog launched a series of tweets demeaning the network’s presence and ridiculing the idea they have “good” ratings.
This is subterfuge, as Trump was not comparing the OANN audience share to the larger networks’. Brian pretends to counter the claim that OANN has big ratings—except Trump’s words on the matter were that the network was experiencing a “big ratings jump.” His comment was stating they are on the rise.
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In attempting to counter the president, this was hardly Stelter’s largest mistake. That would be his mention of ratings at all, considering his home channel has been in a free fall with viewership for a good portion of this year. Once the industry standard, CNN has fallen well behind the other major cable news channels—Fox News and MSNBC—for years. And 2019 has gone from bad to brutal for the network.
It is revealing that Stelter’s Twitter thread hesitates to get into the hard numbers. CNN has been enduring consistent erosion, trailing in primetime behind not just other news nets but also channels like The Food Network and...
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