If TV viewing patterns are a reflection of the American political zeitgeist, there may be no appetite for bipartisanship, no desire for common ground, no hunger to break the Washington gridlock. People bemoan it all, but they sure aren’t gravitating to the network that looks to offer more of neutral stance, a third way.
A few more bad weeks and CNN officially becomes the Choking News Network. The series of lows the network continues to reach – in an election year, no less – is staggering.
According to reports, April was the network’s lowest-rated month in a decade by at least one measure. On May 15, CNN hit a 15-year bottom in prime time in the key 25-to-54 demo with a Piers Morgan show. Last week, CNN hit a 20-year low in weeknight prime-time ratings in total viewers.
This is bad news. Americans are missing a chance to send a message that they are fed up with the bickering and blockading by giving CNN some leadership.
Washington types looking for clues that moving towards the center might do them well at the ballot box this fall certainly aren’t getting any motivation from the CNN ratings. If Fox News and MSNBC are sailing along, why not keep feeding the partisanship?
Don’t underestimate what motivates politicians and political operatives. Hints can come from anywhere. A surge in CNN viewership would gain notice within their island and might have an impact.
There’s the theory that Americans are so fed up with the news that only a relatively small batch of fervent conservatives and liberals are watching cable news, each looking for reassurance their positions are sturdy and for some ammunition to damn the opposition. If so many people, however, are that sick of the news, that’s another big problem for the republic, particularly in an election year.
It could be the programming. CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan might not be as attractive as an O’Reilly or Maddow, but if so many Americans are allegedly looking for a third way, both of the CNN personalities have enough to offer to fit that standard.
Some say CNN only thrives when there is a major international crisis. A lot of what’s happening in Congress – or not happening now – is major international crisis, though. Where's the healthy debate about Afghanistan and Syria?
Also, it’s not as provocative as a Middle East revolution, but without better health care and an improved economy at home, there are plenty of international implications.
Yikes. Anyone hoping election results might usher in a more muted, cooperative tone in Washington in 2013 looks to be out of luck. That's according to the latest polls -- CNN ratings.