AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
In news that sent shockwaves through the media world, it was announced last Thursday that CNN’s $300 million streaming platform, CNN+, will cease all operations and stop broadcasting at the end of this week, just one month after its launch. But while the CNN+ flop is the most high-profile failure for mainstream news outlets recently, it’s hardly the only one, raising questions about just how fragile the liberal media ecosystem has become in a country that has grown increasingly skeptical of the lies and deceptions emanating from our screens.
After a highly publicized unveiling at the end of March, CNN+ was on air just over three weeks before CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery (formed after a merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia, CNN’s longtime owner) announced they were pulling the plug on the nascent project. Executives at CNN immediately tried to spin the fiasco as being due solely to a lack of support from Discovery leadership, but according to internal figures, the platform had just 150,000 subscribers, and fewer than 10,000 viewers were watching at any given time – far below viewership numbers for even moderately popular podcasts or YouTube livestreamers.
The failure of CNN+ is also another embarrassing chapter for a network that has been mired in chaos for most of the past year. First came the downfall of CNN’s top-rated anchor, Chris Cuomo, after revelations that he had used his position as a media personality to help his brother, disgraced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fight sexual harassment allegations. Then CNN president Jeff Zucker was forced to resign after embarrassing details emerged about a decades-long undisclosed romantic affair with a subordinate at the company. To top it all off, CNN has been bleeding viewers at an alarming rate, as the network’s top show for the first quarter of 2022 ranked just 22nd among cable news programs.
But it’s not just CNN that’s struggling. Over at MSNBC, ratings for the first few months of 2022 were only slightly better. Elsewhere in the streaming world, hosts of previously popular cable shows are struggling to catch on with audiences. “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” for example, which launched on Apple TV+ in September, saw its viewership drop to just 40,000 by its fifth episode.
So what’s going on? Mainstream media apologists have been quick to cite declining viewership for cable TV, in general, to explain falling ratings for left-wing news channels, while several outlets were quick to tie reports that Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of 2022 to the news of CNN+’s collapse, implying that it’s simply fierce competition among streaming services that led to the latter’s failure.
But both of those narratives are misleading at best and blatantly false at worst. While it is true that cable news viewership overall has been declining for some time, channels like Fox News actually saw increased viewership in the first quarter of 2022, with the network being the only cable news channel to post year-over-year gains.
Fox News has also seen continued growth of its own streaming service, Fox Nation, since the launch of the platform back in 2018. Other conservative outlets like the Daily Wire have also seen exponential growth amid sharp readership declines for left-leaning publications. News articles from the Daily Wire routinely outperform pieces from the Washington Post and the New York Times on Facebook, and popular Daily Wire podcast hosts like Ben Shapiro and Matt Walsh draw more viewers to their shows than nearly every host on CNN and MSNBC. Likewise, a recent speech by Donald Trump at a Heritage Foundation event drew over 800,000 viewers on Rumble alone—as one internet commenter noted, significantly more than CNN is drawing.
The pattern that begins to emerge is that those outlets pushing left-wing narratives on everything from foreign policy to education are struggling, while those outlets countering the liberal groupthink are thriving.
This in part helps explain why Netflix has been struggling as well, further undercutting the argument that it’s just a tough environment for streaming platforms generally that led to the downfall of CNN+. Since Netflix began shifting away from old TV shows and movies and more toward original content, the platform has become an incubator of left-wing ideology. As one example among many, Netflix’s newest original series follows the fictional story of a “cisgender man” who becomes pregnant. The site also now has an entire section dedicated to “LGBTQ Stories for Families.”
While the company claims that its content is not political, many conservatives have also noted that Netflix has plenty of films and documentaries bashing conservative viewpoints and Republican political figures, but few similarly critical flicks about liberals and Democrats.
While executives at Netflix have blamed everything from inflation to Vladimir Putin for their subscriber loss, the simpler explanation appears to be the same one that CNN, MSNBC, and nearly every other mainstream outlet refuses to accept: people just aren’t that interested in what they have to say. The complete abandonment of all appearance of neutrality in favor of pushing a woke agenda has now alienated a huge swath of America – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.
Once this vital bond of trust between the public and a news source is broken, it is difficult to repair. And as the purveyors of left-wing propaganda implode, so too will the broader left-wing narrative, which has always been sustained only by a coordinated effort to suppress the truth. That’s all good news for conservatives, and for everyone in this country who values honesty and integrity from their information brokers.
Shane Harris is a writer and consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now