Derek Hunter, What was the pitch meeting like for CNN+? “Hey, I know we’re the lowest rated cable news channel, but maybe people will pay for what they aren’t interested in for free?”
Something that dumb and crazy had to have been said, heard and determined to be a good idea at the Atlanta headquarters of the oldest cable “news” network because, according to reports, fully $1 billion was allocated to make CNN+ – their new streaming service – a reality. They would’ve been better off setting that money on fire.
The announcement of CNN+ was treated as an event, the media loves nothing more than stories about itself. The only thing missing was any interest from the public. So-called “big names” were recruited to populate the streaming service from competitors. Kasie Hunt left NBC News, and Chris Wallace left Fox News for streaming glory.
Then the service launched.
I don’t know who thought anyone on the planet wanted more Brian Stelter, let alone thought people would pay for it, but the launch has been a disaster. No one cares. There isn’t a cable system in the country that doesn’t offer CNN and it regularly can’t pull in 1 million viewers in prime time when it’s free. Five dollars per month isn’t a lot of money, but who would pay for home delivery of a meal from a restaurant you absolutely hate? No one.
Only 10,000 people – a rounding error of the population of the country, not to mention the world – tune into the service at any given time. You have to wonder why anyone would bother producing live content for a service so few people are watching.
CNN+ got a lot of press, free publicity for their launch. The New York Times and Washington Post have a lot of staff who are also paid contributors to CNN and many more staffers who’d love to be one day, so they were happy to plug it.
The biggest name the network roped in was Chris Wallace, the longtime host of Fox News Sunday. When he left Fox for CNN it was a big story, as it would be if anyone left a successful Sunday news interview show for something else. Wallace get the standard “I’ve enjoyed my time here, everyone is professional and a joy to work with” quotes as he was walking out the door.
But when it started to become clear the new network would be a disaster, Wallace’s collegial attitude changed.
The favorable press they’d gotten to that point wasn’t translating to subscribers, which meant no audience. Wallace knew what the audience for CNN was, his left-wing politics fit right in there. But that he’d worked at Fox will be enough to earn the condemnation of most progressives, not matter how progressive he is himself. So he turned on his former employer.
Poor Chrissy told the New York Times, “I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox.” The poor dear happily hammered the large checks he got for 1 day of work per week and did so for 18 years, but Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity are just too much. Don Lemon is fine, a non-stop stream of BS conspiracy theories about Republicans are cool, but questioning liberal orthodoxy is beyond the pale?
Wallace needed attention and he got it. The New York Times ran a big spread on Wallace’s comments – catnip for the left – and they were repeated throughout the media. Then Chris Wallace learned an uncomfortable truth: no one cares what Chris Wallace has to say.
To the extent that Chris Wallace had an audience it was because he was on Fox. Fox News Sunday had the audience, Chris Wallace didn’t. Kasie Hunt didn’t have an audience, MSNBC did. Brian Stelter doesn’t have an audience, period, so literally the only people watching him are the staff at Newsbusters, the poor bastards.
Wallace’s situation is different than the others in that he showed himself to hold half his audience in contempt while trying to suck up to the other half who will never like him because of where he worked before. Now there are reports of diva moments and “daily meltdowns” from Wallace now that CNN+ is such a dud, claims he wants a show on the actual cable network. The ego must be fed, and when you leave for something that fails so miserably that they’re looking at cutting funding after only 2 weeks of existence, that ego has been forced to go on a hunger strike.
Whoever thought CNN+ was a good idea needs a slot in the Hall of Shame next to the guy who came up with “New Coke.” Brian Stelter, Chris Wallace and the whole CNN gang can have their own wing in that Hall. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of people…
Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses.