Sad Trombone: Fox's Jump in Online Popularity Has CNN Worried

Along with its near constant drumbeat from its executives down to its media team, CNN (along with its audience development team) have regularly pointed to articles from CNN.com as reporting while dismissing items on Fox as “tabloid-style” pieces that are “not newsworthy.” 

Despite having long claimed to host a larger online audience, new reporting suggests that the Jeffrey Zucker-led network could be worried about Fox News coming to eat their lunch, adding onto FNC's undisputable TV dominance.

According to a piece by Morgan Phillips with our friends at Mediaite, CNN's vendetta against FNC bleeds over to the Web side:

CNN sets itself apart from its right-leaning opposite by boasting of its digital success. It has repeatedly bragged of being the number one online news source.

In May, CNN said it had 28 million more multi-platform unique visitors than Fox, according to the Daily Beast, and frequently refers to Fox News Digital as “second-place Fox News.”

While CNN may have more unique visitors, however, a Fox News spokesperson pointed to a recent press release that made the point of referring to Fox News as “second place” was inaccurate because it gets more page views and more time spent on its site than CNN.

The press release also said that Fox News Digital beat CNN Digital by roughly 1 billion minutes spent online, claiming: “For the seventh consecutive month, Fox News Digital continues to lead competitors in multi-platform minutes totaling 3.8 billion total minutes, a 42 percent increase year-over-year, once again beating CNN.com (2.9 billion).”

Well, then. Someone's in trouble!

To further illustrate CNN's fantatical obsession with Fox, The Daily Beast's Maxwell Tani had sources telling him that, through an internal Slack channel, CNN development staffers "begun placing small fox emojis next to stories the right-leaning cable outlet covered online that CNN missed" in an effort to, in the headline for Tani's piece implied, “take some cues from Fox News."

Pushing back on the claims by Fox News Digital, CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic insisted to Mediaite that they aren't worried about Fox News: “Like any modern newsroom, our team reviews and analyzes stories that are performing especially well from all of our competitors -- that includes NYT, BBC and also Fox News. It’s an important exercise in order to best serve our users.”

Sure, Matt. Sure.

As if he were reading off cue cards provided to him by Jim Acosta, Oliver Darcy, April Ryan, or Brian Stelter, Dornic bashed FoxNews.com to Phillips as having employed “the daily bikini”: “According to Dornic, Fox has published over 100 stories with the word ‘bikini’ in the headline over the past year. ‘That’s not journalism. It’s cheap. We would never stoop to publishing garbage for clicks.’”

CNN can insist that they're guardians of the truth and the protectors of the First Amendment all they want. But as the ratings and now Web traffic are showing, the American people are seeing through CNN's self-centeredness for what it is and are tuning them out.

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