Ed Driscoll

CNN Will Report No Story Before Its Time

As I wrote on Tuesday May 29th, after Red State editor in chief and paid CNN contributor Erick Erickson reported that he had been the victim of a “SWATting” incident:

Will it get any attention at CNN, where Erickson is paid to contribute, both on the air and to their Website? For half a century, the media narrative is that all violence and threats of violence happen on the right, while the left are all United Colors of Benetton wearing happy shiny flower children with peaceful easy feelings. That narrative is why over the last three years, CNN first melted down over the Tea Party, and then blamed Sarah Palin for Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting. In contrast last fall, first CNN, and then Time magazine, which is owned by the same conglomerate that owns CNN, would quickly go all-in praising Occupy Wall Street (where the recurring theme is the “mostly peaceful” OWS) — violence and the threat of violence are tools of the right in their minds, as Jesse Walker of Reason thoroughly explored in 2009.

So how does CNN begin to cover a story that doesn’t fit anywhere within the narrative they’ve worked so hard to construct?

The answer, we now know, is very, very slowly. Fox News reported the story on May 30th; today, a week and a half later, CNN finally reports on a story involving one of their own — and note the lower third that runs throughout CNN anchor Don Lemon’s interview with Erickson: “CONSERVATIVE BLOGGERS DECRY ‘SWATTING.'”

On one level, that’s informative, but on the other, it sends the message that this a story solely involving conservative partisans; the portion of our audience that shares the liberal views of our anchors (such as Lemon) may therefore ignore it.

Why is CNN’s viewership in a tailspin? Why the partisan spin on this issue? Actually, both questions may be explained by the chart that Matt Drudge ran yesterday:

CABLE NEWS RACE, TUES. NITE, JUNE 05 2012:

  • FOXNEWS OREILLY 3,108,000
  • FOXNEWS HANNITY 2,973,000
  • FOXNEWS GRETA 2,802,000
  • FOXNEWS BAIER 2,441,000
  • FOXNEWS SHEP 2,147,000
  • FOXNEWS FIVE 1,590,000
  • CMDY DAILY SHOW 1,516,000
  • MSNBC MADDOW 1,256,000
  • CMDY COLBERT 1,226,000
  • MSNBC SCHULTZ 1,119,000
  • MSNBC HARDBALL 790,000
  • MSNBC SHARPTON 771,000
  • CNN COOPER 630,000
  • CNN MORGAN 591,000

CNN’s lack of speed, coupled with a surplus of timidity and bias (without actually owning their worldview, as Fox and MSNBC have done) illustrates exactly why their ratings have hit a 15-year low.