CNN tried to rebrand their network recently, and the results are even worse than before. Viewers are shutting off the network at a rate that suggests CNN could be a footnote in the history books if they can’t find an audience soon. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: CNN tried to rebrand their network recently, and the results actually, they’re even worse than before. Viewers are shutting off the network at a rate that suggests that CNN could be a footnote in the history books if they can’t find an audience. You know, when I looked at this story, the thing that occurred to me, why has nobody, why has there not been a shareholder derivative suit making Zucker, that idiot, the target of that suit. Zucker came in, he thought he could make some quick advertising money by taking the programming completely, utterly to attack, you know, a left attack, attack attack attacking the right. Well, even as it was happening, shareholders were saying, what the hell’s going on? You’re losing audience. Zucker, and I bet he has another job somewhere. I bet the industry is so incestuous.

Farron Cousins: It is.

Mike Papantonio: That this idiot that destroyed an entire, this was a credible network at one time. This was where they did, they reported the news. And so the issue, the shareholders were saying, go back to reporting the news again. People want to hear the news. They don’t want to hear that Brian Stelter or, you know, whoever the flakes were that they had attacking right wing all the time. The same thing with Fox. Fox is getting into the same problem because they, just report the news. Tell us what the news is. Don’t tell us what to think.

Farron Cousins: Well, and that’s CNN’s problem is they’ve got this huge identity crisis. At least Fox News, they know they’re Republican. MSNBC, they know they’re Democrats. CNN always kind of said, well, what are, are we left? Are we right? No, no, no, no. We’re kind of neither. But then you attract neither, and you’re also not doing journalism. You’re not sending embedded reporters to go across the world doing these undercover investigations. You’re not 60 minutes. You’re not helping consumers. You’re just fluff. You’re just nothing is what CNN became.

Mike Papantonio: Why are they, why are they hanging onto Don Lemon, for example? Okay. He’s always shown as liability. It’s almost like they don’t have enough sense to move it through when it’s not working. So at this point, they’re bringing in everybody. They’re bringing in Barkley, they’re bringing in Bill Maher, they’re bringing in celebrities. The celebrities are now gonna be giving the news. And that’s a little scary. Did you see, every time I think of celebrities telling me what I ought to think about politically, I think of Chelsea Handler. Do you know the story about Chelsea Handler where when she was 40 years old, I’m not making this up and if you don’t believe me, Google this story, when she was 40 years old is the first time she knew that the sun was different than the moon. She thought it was all one entity. And when she went to Africa, somebody explained, no, they’re two different things, at 40 years old. So now Licht is saying, well, let’s bring in all the celebrities to give us the news. Doesn’t that scare you just a little bit?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And they bring in the celebrities and the ratings continue to go down. They’ve tried, okay, we’re gonna do town halls. We’re gonna have a town hall with the, was it Glenn Youngkin, you know, he’s gonna tell us all the right wing policies. It tanked. You had a, I mean, their traffic that day was so bad.

Mike Papantonio: Our traffic is better than, our traffic is better than their traffic. Okay. Now come on.

Farron Cousins: Right. I never thought we’d be doing better than CNN, but here we are. But that’s the problem is CNN, like all the rest of these corporate news outlets, they thought they could tell the news without telling the news to off their advertisers.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: You can’t do that. So you have to make that choice. Do we seek alternative means of funding to be able to tell the news? Or do we keep going down this hole of oh sensationalized daily stories of garbage and lose the audience?

Mike Papantonio: Well, our audience, you know, our audience, we’re not left or right on this show. I mean, our politics, mine are very left. Your politics are very left. But I feel like we have to at least tell the story.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Let everybody else decide. I mean, you know, but, and people are smart enough to do that. And that’s what CNN did a lot for a long time. They reported the news. And then that idiot, Zucker, has he got another job right now? Do you know?

Farron Cousins: I haven’t seen anything. I haven’t looked. So I don’t know.

Mike Papantonio: I bet he’s working for another network. The guy was so, he wasn’t qualified when he started to begin with. Licht, Licht is marginally qualified and this stuff that he’s doing is a disaster.

Farron Cousins: Well, it’s like, you know, Licht was put in charge of the plane that’s already crashing. Saying, okay, you’re the pilot now, but there’s nothing you can do.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, take the wheel. Right. Take the wheel. I kind of feel sorry for the guy, man. Anyway, we’ll see where it lands, well, we’ll see where it crashes, not where it lands.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.