An accurate offer by Walton to the attending advertisers, in a variation on an old Soviet joke about the wonders of their communist system ("We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us"), might have gone likes this: "We can pretend to do journalism, and you can pretend we have an audience."
It's gotten so bad that CNN's supposedly weak sister Headline News is routinely walloping it during prime time. Here's how the latest three available days as reported at Media Bistro (April 20, April 21 and April 22) turned out (all figures in thousands):
During those three days, HLN beat CNN during prime time by an average of 57% in the age 25-54 demographic (59% during the four shows beginning at 7 p.m.) and by 21% in total viewers. The average CNN show listed above during those three days was viewed by fewer than 150,000 people in the the 25-54 demographic.
In terms of total viewers the only CNN "winner" over HLN was Anderson Cooper. Don't get cocky, guy; your HLN competitor is a re-run of Nancy Grace's 8 p.m. show.
It is current CNN U.S. President Jonathan Klein who, when he was at CBS, on one delicious day in 2004, at the height of the controversy over Dan Rather's made-up report about then-President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, said this:
"You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances [at '60 Minutes'] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing."
The problem is, Jon, that the guys and gals in pajamas were right. Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, and you were wrong.
In case readers are wondering, Fox News's total audience on those three days was well over triple that of CNN's.
Somehow, "How the mighty have fallen" just doesn't seem to cut it -- especially because the fallen so clearly don't get it.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.