“There hasn’t been much news.”
In a week that witnessed the afterglow of the Mueller report finding that President Donald Trump did not collude with Russia, the bombshell extortion arrest of Stormy Daniels attorney and Trump nemesis Michael Avenatti, the revelation that Avenatti’s co-conspirator was none other than now-former CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos and the dismissal of charges against alleged hate-crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett, CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter claimed Wednesday that the ratings woes his network was experiencing could be attributed to a slow news week.
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Writing in his popular “Reliable Sources” newsletter, Stelter said that both CNN and MSNBC have experienced a ratings decline because there “hasn’t been much news” since Mueller ended his two year investigation. Conservatives and the president have long criticized CNN’s Mueller investigation coverage.
Interestingly enough, CNN’s main competitor Fox News has not seen a dip in ratings this week. Stelter had an explanation for that too, reasoning that Mueller’s findings are being “celebrated” by the right.
“It’s true that Fox News ratings have popped this week while CNN and MSNBC’s ratings have been below average,” Stelter said in the newsletter. “That makes sense: On the right, the Barr letter is being celebrated like a sequel to election night.”
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Meanwhile, CNN and MSNBC just don’t have anything to cover, according to Stelter.
“Since the letter’s release on Sunday, there hasn’t been much news,” Stelter said. “I’m not surprised by the ebb and flow, but I’m keeping an eye on it.”
But Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill, isn’t buying Stelter’s explanation. In an appearance on Fox News this week, Concha called shenanigans on the “Reliable Sources” host’s comments.
“Yesterday, CNN didn’t even average more than 540,000 viewers as a 40-year-old network with a big brand name and a crazy news cycle,” Concha told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “You’re talking about Smollett getting released, Avenatti getting arrested, the Mueller report — how anybody isn’t rising in ratings in this particular week when it’s just been nuts?”
Concha speculated that a lack of trust in the wake of the Mueller report’s findings could be a problem for networks like CNN.
“That’s almost impossible to do unless your viewers don’t trust you anymore based on all the speculation you did recklessly and randomly over the past two years,” he said.
Meanwhile, incredulous commenters on social media ridiculed Stelter’s assertion.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) March 28, 2019
“If this is a slow news week, then I personally can’t wait till things get exciting around here,” one commenter tweeted in reply. One user’s remarks, attributing the drop in ratings to viewers getting tired of the “endless crap about the Russia nonsense and blaming everyone instead of accepting that the truth finally is here,” summed up the general consensus.
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