The left is doing to CNN what the right is doing to Bud Light

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

As you’ve probably heard by now, Anheuser-Busch is still struggling over it’s decision to partner with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Something similar is also happening to Target after the store rolled out its Prime month clothes for children.


But it’s not just the right that seems to be in a mood to punish big corporations for flipping the bird at their values. The left has been doing something similar to CNN ever since that town hall event with Donald Trump. Even their own media reporter came down on them for it.

“It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening,” wrote the network’s media reporter, Oliver Darcy, soon after, as he recounted the litany of lies told by the former president. “And CNN aired it all. On and on it went. It felt like 2016 all over again. It was Trump’s unhinged social media feed brought to life on stage.”

Darcy got called to the principal’s office over that and was given a stern reprimand.

You can force one of your own employees to dial down the self-criticism but you can’t get angry progressives to keep watching your network.

The town hall was a hilarious and predictable journalistic and political disaster that brought CNN mockery on the day of the event. But now that some time has passed, we’ve learned that it was a business failure as well: A paltry 3.1 million viewers tuned in.

This shouldn’t have been a surprise—Trump simply does not have the drawing power he once had, and a sizable portion of the public is clearly sick of him. But there appears to have been a rather serious knock-on effect of broadcasting the town hall. In the weeks after the former president appeared on CNN, the network’s ratings have plummeted. In fact, its ratings last week were the worst the network has posted since June 2015—a momentous month in American politics, given Trump’s now infamous escalator ride. The network averaged just 429,000 total daily viewers from Monday to Friday, per data cited to The Daily Beast—less than half of those of MSNBC and Fox News.


Fox News has also taken a hit since the firing of Tucker Carlson (it’s down about 40% year over year), but they’re still doing a lot better than CNN.

Since the town hall, CNN has seen several of its weeknight hours—including Anderson Cooper—fall behind Newsmax, the fringe-right channel that has surged since Carlson’s ouster…

MSNBC, on the other hand, saw its demo audience shoot up 44 percent.

CNN, since the embarrassing and scandal-plagued departure of Jeff Zucker, has been making an effort to tack back toward the center. That has been causing concern among progressives for months, but the Trump town hall seems to have been the last straw for a lot of people. One of the people who is highlight the news this week is former CNN+/Media reporter Brian Stelter. Stelter is one of the people who was cast out in the effort to move to the center so you have to imagine he’s enjoying this a bit.

Of course he’s been highlighting Fox News’ ratings decline as well. Fox may not have wanted to move to the center but it has felt forced to do so because of costly lawsuits that will probably wind up costing the company several billion dollars. The firing of Tucker Carlson seems to have become part of the calculus that the network could only defend itself from so much bad news at once. So we seem to be headed for a future in which MSNBC and Newsmax are top networks and CNN and Fox News are considered traitors to one side or the other.


The right’s response to Bud Light and Target has been getting a lot more attention than the left’s response to CNN. Both sides are punishing companies in the marketplace for political stances but as usual the right’s reaction is seen as an immediate outrage, part of an inexplicable culture war the right is waging (in fact, as always the right is merely responding to the left). Meanwhile the left’s similar behavior gets a fraction of the attention and what it does get is framed as both understandable and positive. For instance, the New Republic story I quoted above about CNN’s downturn is headlined “CNN Is Tanking After Its Unforgivable Trump Town Hall.” You see, they deserved it so the fact that it’s happening is really good news.

The media’s take is that Bud Light and Target are victims of abuse while CNN is just being held accountable. The right is doing cancel culture. The left is doing accountability culture. That’s how it’s being portrayed. No matter what else happens, it’s always a net benefit for the left that most of the media agrees with them and frames everything exactly as they would have it framed.

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