CNN finished the 2017 television year down 16 percent in viewership compared to 2016. MSNBC, meanwhile, jumped 50 percent, while Fox News claimed its second consecutive No. 1 title. Overall, CNN ranked No. 22 in total viewers last year and No. 33 in the advertiser-coveted 18 to 49 demographic.
Now, the network’s recovery efforts are being overshadowed by an attack from former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien who ripped her former employees on Twitter on Tuesday. Responding to a piece written by reporter Chris Cillizza, she tweeted:
The article, “Donald Trump is Producing the Greatest Reality Show Ever,” explores the seemingly never-ending public drama surrounding the White House. As of this writing, O’Brien’s tweet has received nearly 3,400 retweets and more than 16,700 likes.
Cillizza responded, tweeting:
This ignited a back and forth between the two reporters. Cillizza insisted that O’Brien would understand the piece if she read it, while O’Brien described it as “not accurate” and “not funny.”
You can read their exchange below:
Cillizza does draw a connection between the public’s fascination with the Trump administration and the president’s potential reelection.
“The truth is that even Mark Burnett couldn’t create such a high-profile reality show with this much drama, this many personalities and this high of stakes. This is a project only Donald Trump could make happen,” he wrote.
“Trump is betting that in a few years enough people will vote to renew the show, captivated by what possibly could come around the corner next — whether they can admit to themselves how much they like the show.”
O’Brien was previously a mainstay on CNN’s Starting Point but left the network in 2013.
Though CNN may have slipped in total viewers last year, certain offerings such as New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota and The Lead with Jake Tapper remained strong in the 25 to 54 demographic. The network would probably want the attention of its viewers there rather than a Twitter spat.