By Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid
It's no secret that the liberal television network news program are losing their audience. But now there's evidence that a liberal cable news network is losing viewers as well. The Wall Street Journal on March 31st ran a story about the serious ratings decline of CNN. Its ratings are down 31 percent from a year ago, as its rivals, CNBC and Fox News, are cutting into its audience. While CNN is down 31 percent, Fox News is up 11 percent.
The Journal admitted that the more conservative orientation of Fox News is having an effect.
That bad news for this Ted Turner-founded network was followed by a story in the New York Post headlined "Kaplan on the Ropes," a reference to CNN President Rick Kaplan. The Post said one factor was the show called "Newsstand," which Kaplan launched on CNN. It aired false charges of U.S. military personnel during the Vietnam war using nerve gas in "Operation Tailwind." The charges were retracted and several people associated with the story -- but not Kaplan -- were fired or let go. One source told the Post, "With the Tailwind scandal; and the Newsstand flop, it looked like he [Kaplan] would go. Im surprised hes still at CNN."
Appearing on C-SPAN, CNN commentator Robert Novak was asked by host Brian Lamb about the ratings plunge, and he explained that it stemmed from competition from Fox and the other networks. He didnt have any bad words for "Rick," which is how he referred to Kaplan. But another factor has to be CNNs failure to give adequate coverage to the conservative point of view. Novak notwithstanding, the network hired Mary Matalin, the wife of Clinton attack dog James Carville, as a conservative co-host on CNNs once-popular Crossfire show. While Matalin is a staunch Republican, her conservatism is weak and soft.
Like Carville, CNN President Kaplan was widely known as a friend of Bill before he left ABC News. At CNN, he reportedly discourages reporters from using the word "scandal" to refer to the Clinton scandals. His boss, Ted Turner, banished the word "foreign" from newscasts because it is offensive to the international community.
Another liberal biting the dust is Bryant Gumbel, the $5 million a year co-host of the CBS Early Show. His ratings are down 14 percent from a year ago, when the lackluster show was hosted by a couple of nobodies. His ratings decline is being publicized at a time when he is going through a nasty divorce in which his wife says that Gumbel cheated on her with a blond and cut his family and children off from critical financial support.
At least Gumbel still has HBO, where he is
the host of a show called "Real Sports" and offers commentaries criticizing
people like John Rocker. Oblivious to the scandal over the treatment of his own family,
Gumbel recently expressed anger over the fact that Rocker had said mean things about
people in an interview but got a standing ovation when he pitched at a baseball game. Our
bet is that Rocker is far more popular than Gumbel.
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