In his deep dive into CNN’s media coverage, including an interview with senior media reporter and host of Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter, The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove reveals that he received an internal audit on CNN’s coverage of the TV news media over a period of 20 months, from Jan. 8, 2015, through Sept. 11, 2016.
The audit, which deemed CNN articles as “positive,” “negative,” or “neutral,” was conducted by one of CNN’s competitors. Grove didn’t reveal which one, but here’s what it found:
The CNN media team’s articles about the broadcast news operations of ABC, CBS, and NBC were deemed overwhelmingly “positive” or “neutral” (88 percent for ABC, 87 percent for CBS, and 80 percent for NBC). But it was an entirely different result for the cable news networks. Stories about Fox News were categorized as 59 percent “negative” (with 29 percent “neutral” and 12 percent “positive”), while stories about MSNBC were deemed 72 percent “negative” (with 21 percent “neutral” and 7 percent “positive”). On the other hand, writing about their own network, according to the audit, the CNN team produced articles deemed 45 percent “positive” (with 52 percent “neutral” and only 3 percent “negative”).
While Stelter wouldn’t comment on the audit, a source at CNN told Grove: “Sentiment is clearly subjective so an anonymous audit by a competitor doesn’t mean much. However, in the spirit of this silly exercise, I’ll rate the source of your ‘report’ as having 100 percent too much time on their hands.”
A source from a CNN competitor adds, “They do a decent job on general media stories, but when it comes to covering absolutely anything related to CNN or the competition, they’re like state-owned media. You can hear Comrade Zucker in every breath. ‘Kill Fox News.’ ‘Kill NBC. ‘Be the bugle-boy for CNN ratings.’ It destroys credibility and is really embarrassing for a news organization.”