As CNN struggles to maintain their last shred of credibility amid record low ratings and multiple sex scandals, the beleaguered cable news network has found a new shiny object: Ukraine.
Forbes recaps CNN's terrible month so far, starting with the ouster of president Jeff Zucker over an inappropriate workplace relationship:
Zucker’s exit has led to a series of damaging reports, including a New York Times story detailing Gollust’s role in influencing the questions to be asked during a live interview with then-Governor Andrew Cuomo. Gollust was forced to resign from CNN on February 15. She denies violating journalistic norms in passing along suggested questions from Cuomo—for whom she had worked previously—to network producers.
Now, a review of ratings data compiled by Nielsen shows the internal chaos at the network is mirrored by deep declines in viewership across all day parts—total day and prime time. Through February 15, CNN’s average prime time audience among viewers 25-54—the key demographic valued by advertisers—was just 126,000, representing a 69% drop from the same period one year ago. Among total viewers, the average audience was 534,000, a decline of 68% from 2021.
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And so, with their own house on fire and ratings in the toilet, CNN is doing what they do best – latching onto and amplifying the outrage du jour – in this case, Ukraine.
As Kalev Leetaru notes at RealClear Politics:
How are the latest Ukraine developments being covered on television news? The timeline below shows the total seconds of airtime across CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and BBC News London since the start of this year in which Ukraine was mentioned somewhere in the onscreen text, showing a surge of mentions starting in late January, then declining through around February 11th, before surging again and then leveling off or declining slightly.
Just since the start of this year, CNN has mentioned Ukraine more than twice as much as Fox News.
Looking at spoken mentions of Ukraine and adding several additional international channels, a similar pattern emerges, though with an additional surge of mentions about a week earlier.
Since the start of this year, Al Jazeera, Russia Today and DW have mentioned Ukraine the most.
Looking instead at mentions of Putin, rather than Ukraine, Al Jazeera, DW and Russia Today rank at the bottom, with CNN and MSNBC mentioning Putin the most, reflecting differing narrative framings that emphasize either Ukraine or Russia more.
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