Veteran journalist Ted Koppel said “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump” in a 2018 interview, words that appear prescient as the network’s numbers continue to fall without its nemesis in office.
While on stage for a National Press Club panel discussion in October of that year, Koppel said Trump had been “very, very good” for the journalism industry.
“The ratings are up, it means you can’t do without Donald Trump. You would be lost without Donald Trump,” Koppel said, as CNN’s Brian Stelter protested it wasn’t true.
“You know that’s not true. You’re playing for laughs,” Stelter replied, before saying it would be “OK” if that happened and noting there would be future administrations to cover.
While it’s common for cable ratings to decline after election years, CNN’s decline since President Biden took office has been particularly dramatic. Its total day viewership is down nearly 70 percent since January. Its top-rated host, Chris Cuomo, averaged one million viewers to finish No. 22 overall among cable news, while weathering criticism for previously advising his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., on sexual harassment allegations.
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