CNN’s public perception has been dropping like a rock – plummeting lower than even the left-leaning MSNBC – a free-fall that appeared to hit bottom around the time of its most aggressive anti-Trump coverage in October 2016.
CNN is now trending lower than it did even in the first few months of 2016, according to polling released Feb. 27 by Internet-based market research firm YouGov.com.
Respondents were asked, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”
Both CNN and MSNBC are in the negatives. However, MSNBC’s perception rose 50 percent over the past several weeks, according to YouGov. It passed CNN in mid-January. Meanwhile, Fox News scored a neutral brand perception.
“CNN’s negative acceleration point happened in mid-October 2016, around the time Anderson Cooper interviewed Melania Trump, notably discussing her husband’s famous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape,” wrote YouGov’s Ted Marzilli. “Also at that time, a local North Carolina Republican office was firebombed, causing conservative-leaning media to pounce on CNN for suggesting Trump’s rhetoric spurred the incident.”
Around the time of the biggest plummet, CNN host Carol Costello shut down Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. Costello said the interview was “going nowhere” because Pierson didn’t respond to Costello’s line of questioning about Trump’s 2005 comments on the secretly recorded “Access Hollywood” tape.
Late in October, CNN was caught editing a story that misquoted Trump.
By early November, WND reported that CNN had asked the DNC for interview questions on Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
An email chain begun by DNC research director Lauren Dillon on April 24 and sent to a group of staffers was titled “Trump Questions for CNN.”
It read: “Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Trump on Tues ahead of his foreign policy address on Wed. Please send me thoughts by 10:30 AM tomorrow.”
A group of DNC staffers then submitted numerous questions for Blitzer to ask Trump.
An email in response from Kelly Roberts and circulated to the rest of the group listed 17 questions CNN should pose to Trump.
They included such questions as:
- Who helped you write the foreign policy speech you’re giving tomorrow?
- What would you do if the military refused to listen to you?
- How many military bases do you think the U.S. should have in Southeast Asia?
- Do you support a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?
Dillon wrote a follow-up email to the group informing them, “CNN said the interview was cancelled as of now but will keep the questions for the next one Good to have for others as well.”
DNC deputy communications director Christina Freundlich responded to that email with the single word, “Boo.” Blitzer did interview Trump on May 4.
That pattern of apparent collusion repeated in another email from Dillon sent to DNC staffers, dated April 28, titled “Cruz on CNN.” It said, “CNN is looking for questions. Please send some topical/interesting ones.”
CNN had already suffered fallout for its close relationship with Democrats. The network dropped political analyst Donna Brazile on Oct. 30 after a WikiLeaks email showed she had leaked questions to the Clinton campaign before a debate and town-hall event.
As WND reported earlier this month, Trump’s war with CNN became more intense, as the president again labeled the network “fake news” and precluded his officials from making appearances on the cable giant.
In a meeting with black leaders at the White House for African-American History month, Trump commented on the “very hostile CNN community.”
“I don’t watch CNN,” Trump said. “I don’t like watching fake news.”
“But Fox has treated me very nice wherever Fox is, thank you.”
An unnamed CNN reporter indicated the White House is trying to punish the network and harm its ratings.
“They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd,” the reporter told Politico.
“Finally! This kind of thing should have been done long ago!” exclaimed Rush Limbaugh on his Feb. 1 national radio broadcast.
“The way Republicans are treated by these fake news outfits, there’s no reason to show up there and get pummeled unless you have the ability to pummel back. So the Trump White House has told CNN, ‘You’re fake news. We’re not sending our surrogates to your network.'”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied CNN was being frozen out, specifically noting he had been answering its questions in daily briefings.
But, as Politico noted, he also explained, “I’m not going to sit around and engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right.”
Before his inauguration as president, Trump got into a now-famous confrontation with CNN’s Jim Acosta when the president-elect refused to take a question from the reporter while blasting CNN as “fake news.”
New York magazine reported Trump’s feud with CNN may have its roots in his personal relationship with CNN President Jeff Zucker, a former NBC president who brought Trump’s TV show “The Apprentice” to the broadcast network.
Zucker told the magazine he’s not worried about CNN having access to Trump in his new role as president.
“I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over,” Zucker said. “I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever.”
“One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus – and that’s CNN,” he noted.