Politico asks a question that has been asked a number of times over the last couple of years: “What’s Wrong at CNN?”
There are a number of familiar refrains, including the fact that MSNBC and Fox News are heavy on primarily partisan politics, which is a more reliable ratings strategy than CNN’s goal of being the place for breaking news. There are also complaints about the network’s editorial strategy, but you see that anytime a network has ratings issues.
Also, the fact that CNN makes $600 million in profits is mentioned, although that includes CNN/US, CNN International, HLN, CNN.com and every other CNN property, so it isn’t clear how much profit CNN/US generates on its own.
More interesting to me are some comments made by CNN DC bureau chief Sam Feist.
In meetings, Feist has said that people should think of CNN as a premium channel for news, the way CNBC is a premium channel for finance. That thinking benefits CNN because people never judge CNBC based on its ratings, which are very low. But it is also a radical admission for a network that, from its launch in 1980 until 10 years ago, was the leading cable news network on television — and one that the industry may therefore have a hard time taking seriously.
The comparison to CNBC is understandable, but misguided.