-By Warner Todd Huston
Piers Morgan got a slap on his own show from no less than Bill Clinton who delivered a not so subtle dig on CNN’s ratings decline.
During a full hour appearance on September 25, when the discussion steered toward political coverage by the media, Clinton told Morgan that he worries over CNN’s dismal ratings saying he “used to worry that CNN was going to lose too many viewers.”
Morgan quickly interrupted to assure the former president that CNN was doing fine, or “storming ahead,” as Morgan claimed
But Clinton wasn’t so sure. He still noted that MSNBC “has grown.”
Regardless, Clinton said, the media is only “serving to polarize the country”
Clinton is right about the ratings, though. In 2012 MSNBC’s ratings surged often supplanting CNN in second place under Fox News. And since then CNN and MSNBC have been neck and neck, often only separated by a few percentage points in the overall ratings and ratings in important demographic categories.
For instance, on September 23, in the important 25 to 54 age demographic, MSNBC topped CNN for total day ratings. Of course, Fox News was far and away the leader in all categories.
Even as CNN’s ratings have improved since Jeff Zucker took over as the network’s chief, the one-time news powerhouse has a long way to go before it reaches to its once dominant position in the ratings.
Transcript of relevant segment
Bill Clinton: I used to worry that CNN was going to lose too many viewers because …
Piers Morgan: No fear of that , Mr. President, we are …
Clinton: No, no, let me — let me …
Morgan: … storming ahead.
Clinton: Obviously, yeah, you’re doing better, but you’re more entertaining now which is good. But, but, but you became more entertaining without becoming more extreme which is important. I mean, because people are wired when they see all this conflict to get in to the fray so that, and you know what it takes, you got to have 800,000 viewers in a cable show to break even, and if you get more than that your profits go up.
So, the good news about the media today is that we have more sources of information than ever before; the bad news is we are all of us prone only to go to the places we agree with. So, MSNBC has grown because they have …
Morgan: Don’t mention that, I’m sorry it’s a …
Clinton:…and Fox News had this big base and they know it’s very carefully done psychologically and substantively. And we just, everything is serving to polarize the country.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, MrConservative.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, Wizbang.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.
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