CNN Stopped Reporting On Its Favorite Boogeyman and the Reason Is Hilarious

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

According to CNN, the biggest news in the world is just how awful that other network is.

Or at least that’s the way it used to be before former CNN honcho Jeff Zucker was forced out (ostensibly) for a sex scandal and (probably actually) for the network’s cratered ratings.


Suddenly, the evil existence of Fox News is no longer the big story it once was.

It’s difficult to say whether the change is funnier than it is pathetic or the other way around. Maybe by the end of this column you can tell me.

I hesitate to plug a Mediaite report because I like and respect my readers, but today they’ve got the juicy stuff.

“According to transcripts,” Mediaite reports, “there has been something of an editorial shift since Feb. 2 when Jeff Zucker left CNN.”

In January, CNN mentioned “Fox” on-air an average of 100 times per week. But in the first three weeks of February, the average number of “Fox” mentions dwindled by two-thirds down to 34. If one looks at average daily mentions, Fox was uttered roughly 13 times per day from Jan. 1 to Feb. 2, and five times per day, on average, since.

Previously, a typical evening at CNN would feature a Brian Stelter whine-rant like this one:

(I posted this clip only to be fair and balanced and whatever, but I urge you not to actually watch anything Stelter or Stelter-adjacent.)

Typical Stelter: Fox bad, Trump bad, both probably racist because of words about a kindly old black man.

For the record: I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t watch CNN or Fox. In fact, I don’t watch TV news at all. I find it’s a terrible medium for conveying important information. TV “news” is all about the feelz, as demonstrated time and time again by Stelter et al.


There is no such thing as TV news; there is only infotainment.

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I am, however, deeply interested in the indefensible infotainment industry.

Mediaite has to Mediaite, so you’re still stuck with gems like this one:

Effective coverage of Fox News has always been a conundrum for CNN. During the Donald Trump administration, many opinion hosts on Fox News openly parroted the president’s political rhetoric and conspiracy theories. Some even maintained a close but informal advisory role with Trump.

In other words, Fox sometimes did for Trump what the entire rest of the mainstream media does for any Democrat not named Kyrsten Sinema or Joe Manchin.

Even richer, or perhaps more galling, is the reason given for CNN’s editorial shift:

How does a rival network report the political rhetoric of a competitor without promoting the competitor? If the consistently absurd and asinine comments made by Tucker Carlson are covered regularly on CNN, eventually many viewers are going to tune into Fox News at 8 p.m. to see what he’s saying. In fact, a recent Nielsen/MRI poll showed that more young democrats [sic] tune into Tucker Carlson Tonight over any other show.


Did you get that? Fox has so many viewers because CNN (which Fox has been trouncing for years) sent them there.

I guess nobody watches CNN anymore because it’s too popular.

That sounded funnier in the original Berra.

There’s no way for you or me to actually know what’s going on at CNN and the network’s decision to lighten up on Fox.

But we can guess.

If you don’t mind me saying so, my guess cracked me up.

Maybe — just maybe — someone at CNN woke up to the fact that Fox really does have a much larger audience. Zucker turned CNN into the All-Trump/All-Fox Panic Porn network but I’m guessing that routine isn’t working any longer for two reasons.

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One: Orange Man Bad is now Orange Man Gone. CNN’s ratings collapsed 90% in the year after Trump left office.

Two: What if Fox started reporting on CNN the way CNN reported on Fox?

They’d have endless stories, repeated ad nauseam, about sexual assault (Chris Cuomo), inappropriate sexual relations with a staffer (Zucker), infighting by ex-employees (Cuomo and Zucker) over tens of millions of dollars, on-air talent (Cuomo) colluding with his disgraced brother (Andrew Cuomo), suspected pedophiles (producers John Griffin and Rick Saleeby), a non-existent viewing audience, and a much-deserved “reputational collapse.”


If Fox were half disreputable as CNN claimed 100 times each week — or used to claim, that is — then Fox would be the CNN Scandal of the Moment Network.

And given CNN’s current position (naked, prone, and wearing a ball-gag), who could blame them?

If anything, Fox has shown considerable restraint in its coverage of CNN.

If CNN had shown similar restraint about literally everything else, they wouldn’t be in today’s horrible shape.

How’s that for funny? Or is it just pathetic?


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