A New Day for CNN?

The headline in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sums up the story's coverage in countless other news outlets: "CNN's ratings continue to fall; Fox News has best quarter in network history." The juxtaposition of the two networks, their different fortunes, the suggestion that the success of the one is at the expense of the other. But maybe these media giants aren't even fighting for the same audiences, maybe they're not even competing with each other, at least not in the straightforward way we've been thinking about it lately.

At least, that's what Dan Kennedy argues over at Media Nation today: "CNN posits itself as a news alternative to the partisan, opinion-driven talk-show line-ups offered by Fox and MSNBC. In that sense, maybe the three cable news nets aren’t really competitors at all." To take a step back for a moment: the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has reported that "the ratings rivalry between the Fox News Channel and CNN is often misleading," because "on any given day, more people typically tune to CNN than to Fox." CNN actually reaches a wider audience than Fox, it's just that viewers stay on Fox longer. That means that more people get their news from CNN than from Fox. So while Media Matters can claim that CNN has been "hemorrhaging viewers for some time now and have demonstrated little success in stanching the flow," the channel is still profitable and shows no signs of going down in flames any time soon.

They could fail, however, if they continue to cut their newsgathering capabilities in order to spend more on mimicking their competitors. That's what they seem to be doing by hiring Erick Erickson, the colorful editor behind the blog redstate.com who has suggested that "ugly feminists" should "return to their kitchens" and only yesterday said that, if a census worker comes to his house, he'll "Pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door."

Maybe, as Kennedy suggests, CNN does have a future, even one along the lines of their current model. Sure, they have to scale back, but the cuts could be to the more left/right opinion programs that viewers already turn to Fox and MSNBC to see. Then they could focus on their strengths as a leaner newsgathering organization. The niche is there, the problem is rethinking the mission.

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Keep reading Show less