CNN’s founder and former owner did not seem so enthused about the network he built from scratch in 1980.
Mr. Turner was asked last Monday on a local Las Vegas news show by the Las Vegas Sun’s John Ralston (via KSNV CHANNEL 3), “You’ve had to watch, maybe from a distance now, the ratings of CNN have suffered compared to Fox and MSNBC. Why do you think that is?”
Mr. Turner responded, “I don’t know I don’t see the audience research. I’m not connected with it anymore. I watch CNN out of habit. I don’t like everything I see, but I think they’re doing a pretty good job.”
Ralston pressed further asking about opinion journalism on the cable networks, saying to Turner: “Even though some people will criticize anything, they’re [CNN] still seen as in the middle, compared to MSNBC and Fox. I’m wondering if there’s a future for that kind of journalism.”
“What? About being in the middle?” Turner confirmed with Ralston. “Well, that is the question. I say that if you do a good enough job, certainly there is,” he said.
Interestingly, CNN’s debate coverage of the GOP debate in Las Vegas the following evening was a rating’s winner for the cable network. According to Reuters, “the debate’s viewership spiked 51 percent over CNN’s September 12 Tea Party Express debate in Tampa, Florida.”
However, Reuters also points out that audience members are likely tuning into the “political theater” the GOP candidates are showing on stage more than anything else. CNN continues to lag behind MSNBC for viewers, while the Fox News Channel dominates the cable news ratings on most average days.