CNN just enjoyed a record-breaking second quarter, the highest ratings period CNN has ever seen. CNN’s audience increased at a higher pace than its rivals, and it is also seeing strong numbers for its digital operation.
CNN’s weekday primetime audience of 1.95 million was up 120% over the same period last year, according to Nielsen. Fox News, which has led in the ratings, had an average of 4.07 million viewers, a 43% increase, while MSNBC’s count of 2.47 million was up 13% from 2019.
“We are a news organization that is built for this kind of time,” CNN president Jeff Zucker said to the Associated Press. “The others in this space are political talk channels, and so even when they’re talking about these stories, they’re talking about the politics of the stories. We’re talking about the news of the stories.”
“All of our research shows we are the most trusted name in news. Others may not believe that, others may scoff at that, the president of the United States makes fun of it, but it’s true.”
Zucker concluded, “More people are watching us than at any time in 40 years. The mere fact that there’s a handful of people left in Washington who can’t figure that out is not our problem.”
MSNBC president Phil Griffin didn’t like Zucker’s jab at him doing “political talk”: “[Our reporters are] doing a hell of a lot more than ‘political talk.'”
Tuesday, CNN announced it had had its best May ever. In part of its press release, CNN said, “Viewers are flocking to CNN in unprecedented numbers to get the latest facts and information during this period of crisis in America.” Cuomo Prime Time was the network’s top-rated program in May among total viewers and in the demo.
But President Trump on Wednesday announced that “CNN IS DYING” — the day after CNN announced its record ratings. He cited the fact anchor Chris Cuomo’s ratings are down 50% (actually, 49% — but close enough). While Cuomo’s ratings are down from when he announced he had coronavirus, he still remains the most-watched CNN program. On Tuesday, CNN responded in part to Trump’s original tweet by saying, “Chris Cuomo has had his highest ratings in history for the past two months.”
Today, CNN fired back quite simply: “CNN is not dying. But Americans are. Focus on that and leave television ratings to us.
President Donald Trump attacked CNN media correspondent and Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, calling him “just a poor man’s lapdog for AT&T.” AT&T is, of course, the parent company of WarnerMedia, which owns CNN.
Trump quote-tweeted an embedded video of Stelter analyzing the right-wing media’s coverage of the Michael Flynn story, giving it more focus than the coronavirus’ death toll.
Trump’s attack came as news of Stelter’s new book, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, was reported last Thursday. Perhaps he didn’t like that . . .
CNN has thus far not commented on Trump’s latest attack on a CNN personality.
On Sunday night, CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon tore into President Trump in a brutal monologue.
“What is it about President Obama that really gets under your skin? Is it because he’s smarter than you? Better educated? Made it on his own—didn’t need Daddy’s help? Wife is more accomplished? Better looking? I don’t know, what is it, what is it about him? That he’s a black man that’s accomplished being president? That he punked you on the whole birth certificate thing? What is it about him? Just wondering.”
A few days prior, on April 30, Trump renewed his attack on Lemon, calling him the “dumbest man on television,” a line he has used since 2017.
As President Trump battles to keep his taxes and other financial documents away from the public eye, CNN’s Erin Burnett launches an investigation to answer the question: How does the President of the United States continue to make money? The network poses in a press release.
In this one-hour CNN Special Report, Burnett explores the many types of businesses the Trump Organization engages in and how the President’s continuing connections to his family empire raise many questions about his separate roles as President and the owner of a sprawling set of companies. The CNN Special Report: The Trump Family Business premieres this Friday, May 17th at 9pm ET.
In the special, Burnett speaks to people who have faced financial losses — from investors in Trump properties, to those who lost money after enrolling in Trump University. In addition, Burnett interviews DC Attorney General Karl Racine who is suing the President, because he believes President Trump is violating the constitution by continuing to take money from foreign governments at his hotels. Burnett also speaks with journalists from the Washington Post, WNYC and ProPublica about their discoveries of how the President still makes money today and how his businesses operate.
If President Trump or Sarah Huckabee Sanders or any of the administration’s spokespeople are going after CNN, they generally go after CNN’s star White House correspondent as well, Jim Acosta.
Acosta has been a constant thorn in the administration’s side and is repeatedly being dissed by both Trump and the White House press shop during its press conferences. Still, Acosta continues to do his job and attempt to question Sanders and Trump.
In the same breath that Trump reveals the star correspondent is “actually a nice guy,” he also attacks CNN chief Jeff Zucker, saying he tells his reporters what to say.
Acosta responded to the president’s tweet, conceding one thing: “You’re right about one thing.. I am a nice guy.”
President Trump today tweeted out a response to the New York Times story, which in part mentioned that he “hate-watches” CNN Tonight with Don Lemon “to get worked up.” In it, he denied the story, arguing he doesn’t actually watch CNN, especially “not Don Lemon, who I once called the ‘dumbest man on television!'”
Lemon hasn’t commented on the matter.
But a spokesperson for CNN said, “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect on a regular basis with insults and name-calling, it is sad to see our president engaging in the very same behavior himself. Leaders should lead by example.”
In an incredibly in-depth piece on President Donald Trump by the New York Times, one nugget reveals a way the president likes “to get worked up”: by “hate-watching” watching CNN’s Don Lemon.
In the past, Trump has gone after “the hatred and venom” coming from Lemon’s mouth on his show, CNN Tonight.
Lemon has indicated before that Trump’s hateful rhetoric about him has him concerned for his safety.