In highlighting a small-scale network’s numbers CNN attempts to make its own shrinking audience look bigger by comparison

It is one of the reliable sources of comedy in our political environment these days: Donald Trump will say something, or Tweet a message, and the press will overreact. It seems most of the time they are unaware of the blatant effort he makes to prod them, and in the process they manage to embarrass themselves. This latest example has Trump possibly unintentionally getting CNN’s self-anointed media Hall Monitor to wade into a ratings quagmire.

In recent weeks the President has become an avid cheerleader for the One America News Network. This conservative-leaning news channel has been the recipient of a number of tweets heralding the channel’s growth.

This did not sit well with CNN’s media Corgi, Brian Stelter. He launched into a supposedly corrective rant, trying vainly to point out that what Trump was saying was inaccurate, and to minimize the impact and reach of the President’s new pet network.

This is where the comedy gold exists with those overcome with TDS. The desire to rush out and refute something said by the President should lead these media professionals to invoke a maxim of self-preservation: DON’T TWEET ANGRY! How this has not been engraved in the facade behind the reception area and outlined in neon with flashing border light strings is a mystery. But Stelter would be mindful to heed this rule.

How he managed to get so enraged as to not understand the folly of his bringing up ratings while his network is gradually but continuous slipping below the surface is wonderment. CNN has just posted ratings that are gaudily miserable.

Metrics from the first week of June, against the same week one year prior, shows CNN has seen a massive segment of its viewing audience disappear. Since 2018 the primetime ratings have dropped -33%. Worse than losing one-third of their viewers, in the age group of 25-54 year olds the drop in total-day has been -45%, and in primetime it is staggering, as more than half are now gone. They have lost -55%.! So yea, Brian — maybe not mentioning broadcast figures would serve you better.

Yet in his desire to supposedly correct the President on this subject Brian manages to butcher the facts.

Even while providing the quote from Donald Trump he manages to get it wrong. The President did not say they had a massive viewership, he said they were experiencing a “big ratings jump”, that is, they were experiencing some notable growth. Brian, in his zeal to make a point, manages to step on his share of rakes.

Look at his mentioning of “metered markets”, in order to draw comparisons to his CNN audience. OANN has not been in the marketplace for decades, as has Brian’s outlet, but there is another difference that he is choosing not to include here. OANN is not carried on all major cable providers, so the audience outreach is not at all equal. For example, Comcast refuses to carry OANN on its vast home cable network. Meanwhile, CNN enjoys near total market saturation.

CNN is all but required to be included in even the most basic of channel packages. This gives the channel a market penetration that is close to 95% of cable subscribers. This places CNN, by its own measurements, into nearly 90 million homes.

This means that is attracting far below 1% of cable households in the ratings. Yet Brian Stelter tries to draw a comparative with One America News Network, as it is shut out of many major cable markets while his own home outlet is essentially a mandatory inclusion in all cable accounts. Hope that bully-market helps him to sleep better as the nightmarish numbers continue to swirl in his dreams.