For a network that claims the facts matter it sure seems to hate the facts behind its dismal ratings.
CNN has undertaken the mission of staging a town hall for each of the candidates for the Democratic party nomination. This is a rather Herculean undertaking considering the wide swath of names which have joined in, and it continues to swell. To date the network has held a dozen of these meet-and-greets, and it is barely halfway through the announced field.
The issue of how effective these have been is in question. After all, CNN has been foundering in the ratings for some time now, frequently being bested on select nights by SpongeBob Squarepants. The series of town halls have followed suit, becoming lightly regarded affairs of varying interest. Over at The Daily Caller, they measured the ratings and there was little to be proud of, and CNN became rather testy with the outlet when they reported on the numbers.
The initial report may not have landed on CNN’s radar, but once President Trump retweeted the headline last night (without comment) that seemed to get a reaction out of Atlanta. The twitter account for CNN Communications sprang to its defense, despite not having much factual ordinance in its arsenal.
CNN does not host presidential town halls for ratings. We host them because substantive conversations with presidential candidates inform and empower voters to make the best possible choices for their families and communities. And it’s the right thing to do.
The PR division then closed their tweet with the almost-too-precious-for-words hashtag, #FactsFirst.
CNN does not host presidential town halls for ratings. We host them because substantive conversations with presidential candidates inform and empower voters to make the best possible choices for their families and communities. And it’s the right thing to do. #factsfirst🍎
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) April 12, 2019
Daily Caller writer Peter Hasson, relying on the basis of facts as the network has declared them important, responded to CNN with a simple link to a news item. It was from CNN itself, touting the wonderful ratings (as perceived by them) that the Harris town hall received.
So they do not do it for the ratings, but their own media expert Brian Stelter sure felt that highlighting the ratings a few months ago was worthy. It seems, in relation to the regularly anemic numbers his network draws, this brief uptick was cause for celebration at the time. As for the “substantive conversations”, we can just assume they were not referring to the softball questions tossed to Cory Booker about being a vegetarian.
Speaking of those all important facts, The Daily Caller totaled up all of the ratings from these town halls CNN has held to this point, finding each one of them has been beaten by both of the network’s two main competitors, Fox News and MSNBC. Worse than that, the average amount is quite scant. The DC total shows the town halls have averaged about 900,000 viewers – which is half of the averages posted by both of the others in counter-programming. Broadcast across from these events MSNBC drew 1.8 million, and Fox averaged over two million in the same time slots.
Making things worse here, CNN cannot hide behind the fact that certain candidates simply have little interest behind them, leading to lower figures. The early town hall with Kamala Harris was the most-viewed, with an audience of just under two million. No other candidate drew over 1.44 million. In contrast, Fox News held a town hall for the lightly regarded Howard Schultz, and the Starbucks CEO attracted an audience almost as big as that for Kamala, at 1.8 million.
Huh. It would almost seem like it was the networks that were impacting the size of the audience and not the popularity of the candidate. Not to worry, I’m certain Brian Stelter will make the proper analysis when he gets around to diving into the metrics behind these audience figures.