Sniping at Fox News has long been a CNN hallmark, but the chatter has apparently tailed off since network president, Jeff Zucker, was forced out over an undisclosed workplace affair.
Since Mr. Zucker’s sudden Feb. 2 departure, CNN’s on-air utterances of “Fox” have plummeted by two-thirds, falling from an average of nearly 100 times per week in January to 34 weekly mentions in the first three weeks of February, according to a Monday analysis by Mediaite.
“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,” said Mediaite’s Colby Hall.
Whether the drop is a feature and not a blip is anyone’s guess. Certainly, Mr. Zucker made no secret of his antipathy toward Fox News, calling it “state-run TV” and a “pure propaganda machine” in 2018.
CNN has acted for years as a relentless Fox watchdog with regular critiques of the right-tilting network’s news coverage and opinion hosts.
Fox personalities have taken their share of shots at CNN, but Mediaite’s Mr. Hall said that the mutual-destruction society has done more damage to CNN than Fox, the top-rated cable news network for 20 years.
“When CNN hosts push back on personal, often ugly, attacks they get from Fox News hosts and do so with the same level of bombast (plus sanctimony), it’s a turn-off for viewers eager to consume proper news,” said the Mediaite analysis. “Fox News has successfully pulled some CNN hosts into a pro-wrestling dynamic that has hurt CNN far more than Fox.”
PJ Media’s Stephen Green added his take: “Maybe — just maybe — someone at CNN woke up to the fact that Fox really does have a much larger audience.”
He said that “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,” citing the departure of former President Donald Trump and the recent rash of sex-and-politics scandals at CNN.
Two months before Mr. Zucker’s hasty retreat, host Chris Cuomo was fired for assisting former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his brother, in his defense against sexual-harassment accusations.
Last week, CNN chief marketing officer Allison Gollust, Mr. Zucker’s paramour, resigned after an internal investigation found she violated company policies. She previously worked as Andrew Cuomo’s communications director.
Chris Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment by an anonymous woman in December, which he denies. The same month, CNN fired a senior producer after he was indicted on federal charges related to luring a minor for sex. He has pleaded not guilty.
“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,” Mr. Green said.
CNN hasn’t exited the Fox-hunting business. The network ran a “fact check” Monday on its website headlined “Debunking more false Fox claims about the Canadian convoy protests.”
The Mediaite figures were based on a search of the term “Fox” on TVEyes, a television transcript database.
The search captured all “Fox” mentions, including any references to forest animals as opposed to the network, “but one can reasonably assume that these outliers have been evenly spread across all seven weeks of the young year,” said the article.