CNN’s Brian Stelter responded late Wednesday night to President Trump’s attacks on his show and his employer, saying Trump is “misinformed” by the media he consumes.
In his nightly “Reliable Sources” newsletter, Stelter said “misleading ratings #’s get weaponized by Trumpworld.”
Earlier Wednesday, Trump shared a Gateway Pundit post titled, “RATINGS CRASH: CNN’s Brian Stelter Just Fell To Embarrassing Low With Key Demo,” which borrowed heavily from Fox News’ digital reporting. Trump added, “Can’t believe @ATT keeps the management after yet another @CNN ratings dive. Nobody watching, NO CREDIBILITY! Maybe they should make changes at AT&T?”
In Stelter’s newsletter, he countered claims of poor ratings on his Sunday show, also called “Reliable Sources.” He wrote that in December, the program “was #1 in the 25- to 54-year-old demo in its time slot tenor five weeks, and Fox’s Show was #1 the other three weeks.”
The Fox News article cited by Gateway Pundit and referenced by Stelter pointed out that the Dec. 22 episode of the CNN show averaged a new low of 85,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic. In December overall, according to Nielsen ratings, “Reliable Sources” averaged 693,000 viewers with 152,000 in the demo. Fox News’ 11 a.m. ET competitor, “Media Buzz,” averaged 1.460 million viewers, of which 217,000 were in the demo.
The problem CNN’s chief media correspondent identified wasn’t one with ratings so much as one with Trump’s sources of news.
“So, no surprise, on Monday Fox’s website wrote about my lowest-rated week. I recognize they’ll never write about the other weeks. The result: Their readers are misled about the actual ratings race. Trump is now one of those misinformed readers, and he is spreading the info even more widely,” he wrote.
A representative for Fox News didn’t offer comment on Stelter’s statement.
According to Nielsen ratings, “Reliable Sources” averaged 746,000 total viewers in 2019, and of those, 167,000 were in the advertiser-coveted 25-to-54 demographic. “Media Buzz,” averaged 1.340 million total viewers, 226,000 of whom were in the demo.
Stelter acknowledged Fox News’ ratings success in his newsletter response to Trump.
“The pro-Trump media invested in a narrative that proclaims other sources of news are dead or dying,” he wrote. “I’ve seen countless MAGA tweets cheering the imminent demise of CNN and MSNBC, when in fact ratings for al the cablers remain strong. Fox News is the highest-rated of all.”