CNN Reacts to Low Ratings: Picks Up Outlandish Conservative Blogger

Written for my COMM200 class (Spring Semester 2010) in April 2010 for a group project on blogging with a bias. My group’s blog intentionally has left lean, and was graded according to correctly writing with a liberal slant. Original here.

CNN’s ratings are in and it’s not good news. Despite recent months filled with massive news stories like the Haiti earthquake that viewers usually flock to CNN for coverage, viewership is drastically down.

Prominent prime-time hosts have lost almost half their viewers, which raises the question of whether or not their audience is looking for the hard-news hosts CNN offers. And with FOX News’s ratings ahead of the rest, the issue of ideology is now also out on the media table.

Mat Marshall, a freshman at the University of Delaware, says yes, CNN no longer has an edge over the other networks. “CNN’s problem isn’t ideological, it’s the quality of their reporters. Wolf Blitzer and Larry King are boring. Chris Matthews is entertaining.”

CNN’s reaction to this: hire conservative blogger, Erick Erickson. Erickson, writer for Red State, is notorious for writing outrageous things, such as:

Barack Obama could be pillaging poor people in Chicago, shagging every hooker in Washington, D.C., and going to Communist Party meetings with his wife and the media would (A) never look into it and (B) never mention it even if they knew.

Is the addition of such a controversial talking head necessary to CNN? Is this what the viewers want? And, if so, was Erickson really the proper choice? All the negative signs point to “not likely,” and Jon Stewart agrees.

But maybe Jon Stewart himself is part of the solution to CNN’s problems. With the wild success and loyal viewership of his comdey news show, The Daily Show, coupled with the rising ratings of the not-so “fair and balanced” FOX News, news audiences seem to be looking for a bias, a spin, or at least a twist on their news. And in that case, hiring Erickson was a step in the right direction, literally.

Check out NPR’s take on this story.


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