CNN’s heavily publicized town hall with President Biden failed to resonate with viewers, finishing with a smaller audience than regular programming on both Fox News and MSNBC.
CNN’s town hall moderated by Anderson Cooper, which was criticized for being “littered with watered-down softballs” and completely ignoring Afghanistan, averaged only 1.2 million viewers from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. During that same time frame, Fox News averaged 2.8 million and MSNBC averaged 1.4 million viewers.
CNN GIVES BIDEN A PASS ON AFGHANISTAN, COMPLETELY IGNORES TOPIC DURING 90-MINUTE TOWN HALL
On the bright side, CNN has failed to crack the one-million viewer plateau on a regular basis lately so Biden’s appearance briefly helped the network pass the barrier.
However, things quickly went back to the status quo and CNN finished dead last among the three cable news outlets during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, averaging a dismal 984,000 viewers compared to 2.6 million for Fox News and 1.4 million for MSNBC.
CNN also struggled among the key demographic of adults age 25-54 despite the Biden town hall, averaging only 223,000 viewers in the category coveted by advertisers from 8-11 p.m. ET on Thursday compared to 378,000 for Fox News.
CNN SPENT NEARLY 80% OF SEPTEMBER UNDER 1 MILLION VIEWERS
Fox News outdrew CNN and MSNBC combined during primetime among both total viewers and the key demographic.
Many of the viewers who did tune in to CNN’s Biden town hall has problems with it.
“How Anderson Cooper — who has won awards for his reporting from war zones including Afghanistan — felt no need to ask even one question on Afghanistan is telling,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha said. “The White House clearly got what it wanted from CNN, which isn’t remotely a shell of the once-proud news brand it once was.”
NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck also slammed the CNN event for going easy on Biden in a piece headlined, “CNN Treats Biden to Another Clownish Pep Rally Littered With Watered-Down Softballs.”
“Thursday’s 89-minute state-run media operation featured questions that were either sapless, unimaginative, or watered down to ensure they came across as harmless,” Houck wrote.
“Unsurprisingly, CNN and Biden’s handlers made sure Cooper and the audience avoided topics such as Afghanistan, the cover-up by the far-left Loudoun County Public Schools of alleged rapes, critical race theory, the FBI spying on parents who speak at school board meetings, and Hunter Biden’s ongoing art scam,” Houck added. “Going back to the questions they did allow through, two of the neutral questions dealt with the harsh reality of how things like inflation and the supply chain crisis have made the cost of living more stressful and tenuous, but they were ground down so as help absolve Biden of blame.”
Of the 12 participants who were able to ask questions, seven were identified as Democrats, three were identified as Independents and only two were identified as Republicans.
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Last year, in the final months of the 2020 presidential election, CNN held a town hall with then-candidate Biden featuring 16 participants. A whopping 13 of them were identified as Democrats while only three were Republicans.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.