Opinion: CNN+ Goes Down Faster Than The Titanic

Kurt Dillon

What's next for the fledgling Channel that was once a media powerhouse?

Image by Adobe Creative Cloud

Almost to the day of the 110th anniversary of the most well-known avoidable disaster in history, and less than two weeks after the maiden voyage of its brand new flagship property, CNN announces it's pulling the plug on its shiny new streaming service.

Coincidence? Probably not. Bad ideas just seem to resonate that way.

CNN+ wasn’t even afloat for a full two weeks before its new parent company execs, pulled the plug, effectively sinking several hundred million dollars to the bottom — of Warner Bros. Discovery’s books, that is.

That’s the name of the newly merged company by the way, just in case it swam past you.

At least the people in charge of the Titanic had a sparkling new ship to work with. In contrast, the helm of rusted old media bucket CNN isn’t anything close to pristine.

Similarly, when we get close to CNN headquarters, that isn’t the fresh paint people claim to be smelling. No, there are very few people on earth who use adjectives like majestic, glorious, or awesome when referring to CNN.

So why cancel the service?

To be sure, the leadership of the newly merged spawn of Warner Media and Discovery sites the main reason as: “an exciting new direction for the brand.

Ambiguous enough for you? Me too. Let’s hope that honesty and integrity have some small part in that new direction. That would at least be a welcome change.

In a statement released just hours ago by CNN Business reporters Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter, CNN made the decision official.

Hyped to potential subscribers as “one of the most significant developments in the history of CNN,” and as “the most significant launch since Ted Turner founded CNN in 1980,” the decision to eliminate the application cost the company upwards of a half-billion dollars.

It also threatens to arbitrarily eliminate the jobs of hundreds of CNN+ staffers. As part of the public release, the network claims most disenfranchised employees will receive at least a six-month severance if the new company can’t find other positions for them internally.

CNN Business issues its own press release

According to Darcy and Stelter, former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker was informed by Discovery CEO David Zaslav, that he intended to maintain all of the streaming properties owned by the newly formed company, Warner Bros. Discovery in the same place.

In a separate statement released by Discovery’s streaming guru, J.B.Perrette, the decision to put the kibosh on the newborn streaming app was made because:

In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling.

Will the troubled network radically change its biased, hardline liberal angle?

Over the past six years, CNN has developed a rock-solid reputation for storytelling alright, along with an intense predilection away from anything resembling authentic journalism. Those severely biased predilections have also not escaped the attention of the global public.

What mainstream media viewers seem to think

In a March 29, 2022, article by Forbes, Senior Contributor Mark Joyella reports that 1Q Cable News Ratings show Fox News is by far the global leader in broadcast News. The media juggernaut has just completed its 81st consecutive quarter as the most-watched network on all of basic cable television.

Fox accomplished this in 1Q with an average total audience of 2.554 million viewers — a 3% increase from 2021 according to Nielsen, the company that monitors television and radio network ratings.

MSNBC came in at a distant second with an average total audience of 1.205 million viewers — down a whopping 46% from 2021.

So, how did CNN fare you might be asking? They finished third with an average total audience of 857,000 viewers — that's an epic 56% decline from 2021, whose numbers were already drastically lower than they were in 2020, thanks largely to absurdly opinionated and propagandized election coverage.

What exactly is this ‘exciting new direction?’

During a town hall meeting with CNN staffers, Perrette partnered with incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht to break the news. As it stands, literally hundreds of CNN+ staff may lose their jobs as a result of this closure.

According to the CNN Business article, “one CNN+ staffer… described the sentiment as ‘total and utter shock that morphed into despair.’” That staffer requested anonymity to speak candidly, but went on to say:

At first, people were really freaking out. And then, toward the end of the meeting, It just turned to sadness. Every team was just huddling with each other.

At least Licht began the town hall meeting in a manner most of the chopping block fodder could understand. He told them: “This was an extremely successful launch, just incompatible with the newly merged company’s plans” — Typical CNN-style fictional rhetoric, just like the staff are used to. At least they'll feel at home as the ax falls on their necks.

Same old CNN

Perrette then tried to lay a good portion of the blame on the previous leadership, by telling the staffers, “some of this was avoidable.” So was that iceberg, J.B..

Earlier this afternoon, there were reports that employees housed on the 16th floor of CNN's New York Headquarters, ‘broke out whiskey and wine to commiserate.’

For now, the streaming service will continue until the end of this month, and advance subscribers will receive prorated refunds for any paid subscriptions beyond April 30th.

So far, the powers that be have been very nondescript regarding the nature of their ‘exciting new direction’ for CNN.

All I can see is much more of the same; absurdly biased rhetorical bluster, factless name-calling, and tireless blame passing — all the practices that contributed to the abysmal decline of a once-dominant media conglomerate.

Of course, only time will tell if the brain trusts now steering the ship will make any real effort to alter the ill-fated course of biased opinions and constant fake news reporting.

It will take more than strong leadership to guide the ethically compromised company in the direction of truth and away from the iceberg of radically slanted and divisive political agendas which have steadily and continuously decimated the network for years.

It will take replacing many of the horrendous ‘anchors’ currently hosting hate-filled diatribe sessions and replacing them with dedicated journalists whose only desire is…to report the facts, not their opinions, and not the advancement of their political ideologies, agendas, or candidates.

Can it happen? I suppose it’s possible. Is it likely to happen? I personally believe I have a better chance of hitting Powerball on two consecutive draws and then getting struck by lightning on my way to the bank to cash the check.

But alas, that’s just my opinion — and probably the opinions of the 56% of former CNN viewers. People who abandoned ship long ago to avoid getting sucked down into the inky abyss amid the fast-sinking network’s radius of toxic hyperbole and propaganda.

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Kurt Dillon is an experienced investigative reporter with over 29 years exp reporting the unbiased truth. He has two master's degrees from Columbia University in New York City--An MS in Psychology and an MA in English/Journalism.

Macon, GA

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