By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
CNN has slipped into last place among the 24 hour cable "news" networks, the New York Times reports. And that raises this question: Will CNN follow MSNBC down the Fox road to partisan glory? Since its debut, Fox has staked a place as the conservatives' home away from perceived bias of the so-called mainstream media. (Quick aside: Doesn't the fact that it has the most viewers ipso facto put Fox in the mainstream media?) MSNBC has gained traction in the last year or two by becoming the Fox of the left. So partisans on both sides now know where they can go to find out why they're right and the other side is evil.
Take the 8 o'clock hour. Conservatives can tune in to Fox to watch Bill O'Reilly skewer the left. Liberals can flip on Keith Olbermann and watch him lambaste O'Reilly. And CNN offers up the estimable Campbell Brown who it touts as "the only non-partisan cable news anchor at 8 pm, [offering] a common sense approach to reporting the day's news." The show used to be called No Bias, No Bull—but viewers seem to prefer both bias and bull, as CNN comes in fourth place at 8pm.
So the question is: When CNN decides to get partisan will they try to out-fox Fox or bigfoot MSNBC on the left? Stay tuned.