June 10th, 2012
11:57 AM ET

Campaign lull and cable ratings

Terence Smith, Christina Bellantoni, Paul Farhi and Howard Kurtz assess viewers’ waning interest in cable news during the campaign lull.

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Filed under: Media • Reliable Sources
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  10. Dan

    They said the key point at the end. The trouble with cable news is that there isn't much reason to watch anymore unless you like the show. CNN was launched when 24 hour news was a novelty, nowadays everyone can read or watch the news on their phone.

    As indicated by the second comment, what's considered "middle ground" is always going to be a subjective thing. No one ever thinks of his or her views as being far right or far left, because if you think of yourself as a reasonable person, then you'll believe your views are moderate. The partisans will always find fault with your coverage and retreat off to Fox or MS, or frequently the blogs where no pretense of journalism is required.

    So the answer is to try and rise above politics. Spend the money necessary to do good in depth reporting.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • raphael a

      Good in depth reporting is expensive. ABC did a great expose on psychiatrists overmedicating children. CNN did a great one on lax FDA food inspection standards and the farm that produced the bacteria-laden melons.
      Both required flying people out to destinations, putting them up in hotels, etc.
      Now that revenues are down and shlock products are the main sponsors, cable news relies on personality cults behind a desk. It is much cheaper to produce. If Alex Wagner and Chris Hayes bring in more toothpaste and lawyer ads revenue than they cost to produce, they are a technical success.
      In other words, personality hosted cable shows are really the same as blogs.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Reply
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  11. raphael a

    The problem with the "middle approach" was demonstrated by Terrence Smith who referred to Obama's gaffe as "Romneyesque." Terrence Smith is a pompous leftish windbag, which he is entitled to be. Only problem- he anchored The PBS NewsHour which claims to be objective. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Judy Woodruff (like husband Al Hunt,) lean far left, and Lehrer and Ray Suarez liberal. We all knew this.
    Can anybody visualize Don Lemon, Soledad O'Brien, Anderson Cooper and Suzanne Malveaux being equally happy with a McCain-Palin win as with an Obama? And Blitzer and King are still mildly liberal.
    So CNN is in a difficult place. They are top-heavy with with liberal to leftish anchors, yet they claim to be centrist. And as one guest this morning pointed out, MSNBC already occupies the loud – and often comical – openly left point of view. CNN gets ratings boosts with celebrity deaths/ weddings and world events, but it doesn't work long term. And they tried "outrage" with Eliot Spitzer which failed, and "works" with Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell.
    I agree with the previous comment. At the very least, CNN needs more charismatic anchors and reporters. They could still try to stake out an honest middle ground, but without putting you to sleep. Erin Burnett was a nice try. But look what Fox did. They hired Charlie Gasparino. They have Angela McGlowan debate Santita Jackson. They have the competent and superhot Megan Kelly. They hired Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.
    It's how the game is played. Deal with it. Sad when the commentors have more sense than the multi-million dollar CEOs

    June 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  12. Janice Smith

    Mr. Kurtz, If CNN is going to play the middle ground and try to get ratings up then they need to get better reporters. It's gotten more like a magazine than a news media. Where's Ted Turner when you need him? Getting more edgier reporters and reporting like Current TV would vitalize the format. Emphasizing and getting more indepth reporters that truly are bi-partisan would also help. I'm so over the left vs the right. There is absolutely nothing new in what they have to say. It's like torture to sit and listen to pollitians and reporters re-iterate these dug in insane positions and play it off as NEWS. CNN has to be smarter than that. I can't even watch Wolf Blitzer anymore. His line of questioning is so predictable and boring it's a waste to watch. Come on Wake UP you guys, you're wasting the air time!

    June 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply

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