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Klein / Griffin Verbal Battle As CNN Cedes Second Place in Prime to MSNBC

Here is the AP story we mentioned earlier today on the cable news ratings picture. David Bauder begins with:

CNN is poised to finish March third in the prime-time weeknight ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the first time this has ever happened for the channel that pioneered the cable news genre nearly three decades ago.

After laying out the March numbers through Wednesday, with Fox News Channel drawing more viewers in primetime than MSNBC and CNN combined, (“Fox remains on a mountain”, he writes) Bauder quotes the presidents of those two networks.

Jon Klein of CNN: “The fact that one network may have eked out a slight edge in one small slice of the overall business really doesn’t say much of anything. It’s more clear than ever, given the way that our competitors have positioned themselves, that CNN has positioned itself as the real news network.”

Phil Griffin of MSNBC: “They’ve got the best brand in news. CNN, that’s better than anybody. But you’ve got to deliver on that – and they’re not. It’s a hollow promise. CNN ain’t what it used to be, and that has given us an opening because we stand for something and they don’t.”

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