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Veteran TV Writer Has a Theory About CNN's Dwindling Ratings -- Is It All About One Major Political Issue? NY Times

CNN's ratings fell last week to the cable news channel's lowest weekly number since August 2012, a decline that may be tied to its coverage of the Affordable Care Act, writes veteran TV writer Bill Carter in The New York Times.

"Did that mean people didn’t want to hear wall-to-wall coverage of the failure of the site?" Carter asks. "Maybe not, if they were viewers already committed to one of the partisan corners: Both Fox News and MSNBC did far better last week, with heavy coverage of issues related to the health care law.

"But CNN, which led most of its news hours last week with reporting related to the site’s inadequacies, drew little interest from viewers, even on the day that Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, testified in Congress and took many hostile questions from Republican representatives."

Fox News Channel's audience appears to be more interested in the story of the troubled rollout of the health-care exchange, with FNC drawing 2.4 million viewers overall last week. By comparison, CNN drew only 385,000 viewers during the same period. MSNBC averaged 683,000 total viewers.

The problem could also be related to programming choices, notes the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker. Jeff Zucker, who was tapped to turn around CNN a year ago, "has tried to shake up CNN by, among other things, bringing back 'Crossfire' and offering a show to travel personality Anthony Bourdain," the publication reports. "But the moves don't seem to be working."

Thumbnail image for jeffzucker.jpgJeff Zucker