Premium

Disaster Porn: CNN Is More Entertainment Than News

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Earlier on Tuesday, I wrote an article discussing the ratings crash CNN is experiencing now that the main dish they served up to customers is no longer available.

(READ: CNN Experienced a Massive Ratings Crash During Biden’s First Week)

Losing 44 percent of your audience during prime time hours is nothing to scoff at, but CNN dug its own grave here. For the last four years, it based its entire identity on hating Trump. Every minute of every show was dedicated to making it seem like America was barely surviving under the worst world leader to ever walk the Earth since Hitler. Even if the report didn’t somehow have anything to do with Trump, it would somehow be tied to him.

To CNN’s credit, those who did watch the network were rivetted and believed every single word that came out of the mouths of anyone who sat behind a desk there. CNN was very good at selling the drama and its viewers really did feel like a great battle was being aired live on television with very bad people being pushed back on by very good people, including those in the press, and specifically CNN.

But now Trump is gone. The great threat CNN had been fighting against for years has been defeated and like some great story, everyone can finally go home now and live their lives in peace.

Interestingly, “peace” means turning off CNN.

With no threat, there’s no reason to tune in anymore. More realistically, everything that made CNN interesting to watch is gone. No one wants regular old news now, at least not from CNN. They want drama, excitement, danger, and thrills. They want a villain and a story about a fight against him.

In order to get those audiences back, CNN will have to find themselves a new villain to focus on, which could take the form of a number of things. It could be a group of people like Republicans, it could be an individual like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, or it could even be a bill that Democrats are trying to oppose at all costs. CNN would be tickled pink if another national tragedy would happen like a mass shooting because then they could focus hours on who is to blame for the gun laws in America…again.

CNN is still yet to find their great boogeyman, but the fact that they need one highlights a point that needs to be well understood by the masses.

CNN isn’t necessarily a news network. News isn’t its primary export. What it really deals in is entertainment.

The network peddles in disaster porn. The more sensational the story, the more you want to tune in. On the surface, it looks like you’re being informed about the world around you, but behind every report is CNN’s desire to have you watch and keep watching. If need be, they’ll take an event and pump up the stakes in order to make you paranoid, worried, or angry. These emotions can be used to keep you glued as the story “unfolds” and one talking head after another parade by the camera telling you how the thing you’re watching is history in the making and could change the world.

In truth, many of these stories aren’t as exciting as they appear to be, even to the CNN anchors reporting it with serious faces and righteous verbiage. They’re actors more than they are reporters.

Take, for instance, Chris Cuomo’s claims that he was experiencing the worst the COVID-19 virus had to offer with hallucinations and profuse sweating. However, once the cameras turned off, he went about his daily life like any good actor, even leaving his basement to travel to his property in East Hampton, where he got into a confrontation with an old man who called him out.

Even after being caught, Cuomo continued acting for the cameras, emerging from his basement like it was the first time he’d been out of it in weeks.

(READ: Who Do Chris Cuomo and CNN Think They’re Fooling With This Basement Emergence Video?)

CNN isn’t a news source, it’s an entertainment company with a vested interest in making you watch. Remember this going forward.