Are CNN Anchors Starting Feuds to Try and Get Ratings?


Has CNN and some of their Anchors gotten so desperate for ratings that they are starting fake feuds to try and get some publicity?

That sure appears to be the case.

Just this past week, Don Lemon got into an ugly slapfest with Fox News’s Gregg Jarrett, and Chris Cuomo is flinging insults at Jon Stewart.

The Daily Beast writes that Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart opened Tuesday night’s installment of The Daily Show with a video clip of Chris Cuomo—who only that morning had belittled Stewart as a mere “court jester” who doesn’t do challenging interviews with VIPs.

“When he gets a heavy in the chair next to him,” Cuomo had declared on CNN’sNew Day program, during a panel discussion of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Showdebut, “he’s making jokes or nodding yes, yes, yes! I don’t know that the bar will be that high for Jimmy Fallon to be the accountability guy.”

Why would the host of an anemically rated morning show on the third-place cable news network take a shot at the star of a thriving late-night franchise on another cable outlet—especially considering that Stewart is a world-class satirist who could easily subject Cuomo to painful ridicule? Or why, for that matter, would another CNN anchor, Don Lemon, allow himself to be drawn into a childish slapfest with “old white guy” Gregg Jarrett, a rival and admittedly older anchor at the top-rated Fox News Channel?

Could it be that the CNN-ers were tearing a page out of Keith Olbermann’s dog-eared playbook, wherein the former MSNBC anchor tried to attract attention and increase his viewership by abusing Bill O’Reilly, his prime-time Fox News competitor who was getting four times Olbermann’s ratings? (In Keith’s case, he was amply rewarded, as “Bill-O The Clown” couldn’t help but fire back.)  Or, just as plausible, is there zero method to their madness? Are they, as Lemon described himself, simply “pissed”?

Or maybe, after three decades as the go-to network for breaking news, served up plain and hard, CNN is finally morphing into a typically hyper-partisan cable outlet. If Fox News appeals to Republicans and MSNBC resonates to Democratic talking points, perhaps CNN is aspiring to claim the mantle of the Angry People’s Party, while attracting some buzz and, they might hope, a ratings boost.

None of the combatants—nor their network spokespeople at CNN, Fox News and Comedy Central—deigned to offer enlightenment, leaving the rest of us free to speculate. (Unlike the talent, network spokespeople are paid for the most part to be prudent and disciplined.)