The President of CNN Worldwide resigned last week as ratings for their primary news network and big shows continued their decline, reaching a 21-year low. In a departing memo to CNN staff, he wrote that "CNN 'needs new thinking' and a 'new leader who brings a different perspective.'"
The second quarter ratings for CNN showed a 35-41% decline from the year before (depending on demographic), reflecting a loss of nearly half a million viewers. Every major program at CNN saw significant declines from the previous year - Anderson Cooper 360 down 44% at 10pm and down 23% at 8pm; Piers Morgan down 33%; Erin Burnett Outfront down 45%; the Situation Room down 42%, and morning show Getting Started down 43%. (These ratings are for the desirable 25-54 age demographic, the general audience metric (people aged 2 or older) also declined, but not as rapidly.).
The NY Times blames the fall in a declining interest in breaking news, However, while the overall viewing for the three major cable news networks all declined, the fall was marginal for Fox (down 1% in total viewing) and modest for MSNBC (down 13%) - so clearly that's not the only reason behind the decline. Could its pretense of objective neutrality in coverage in an age of increased partisanship be a contributing factor?
Sources - CNN Ratings Fall to 21 Year Low in Primetime During the Second Quarter of 2012, TVbythenNumbers
As Breaking News Fades, Ratings Fall at CNN, NY Times