Responding to a Tuesday report that CNN’s ratings are dropping below Newsmax, Megyn Kelly called the news network’s current predicament “a true existential crisis,” targeted former CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker as “the grim reaper” and slammed its slate of anchors as “Trump haters.”
She did, however, spare some kind words for Jake Tapper, who she said “at least tries to be fair.”
“I know people don’t agree with me, but that’s how I see him,” she said.
The segment of Tuesday’s episode of “The Megyn Kelly Show” came as Kelly and her pair of guests, The Federalist editor Emily Jashinsky and Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Eliana Johnson, responded to The Daily Beasts reporting on CNN that found “last week, the cable news pioneer suffered its lowest-rated week since June 2015, averaging just 429,000 total daily viewers from Monday-Friday.”
“CNN was also down double digits compared to the same week last year in both total viewership and in the key advertising demographic of viewers ages 25-54,” the report continued. “MSNBC more than doubled CNN’s daily audience, drawing 976,000 total viewers, while Fox News averaged 1.4 million.” (Fox News, meanwhile, was down 24% in total viewers year to year, a ratings plummet itself credited to the unceremonious ouster of Tucker Carlson.)
“It’s a true existential crisis,” Kelly said of CNN’s cratering ratings. “This is why Jeff Zucker was the grim reaper of CNN. He killed it. He killed it.”
As Kelly sees it, Zucker’s leadership rid the network of its more moderate viewership and “drove every right-of-center viewer away entirely.”
“There’s not one still watching that channel,” she said. “And now Chris Licht comes in to try to win them back over, does something like hosting the leading presidential candidate on the GOP side for a town hall where we might explore his views, and the audience is so angry that what little they had left has totally abandoned them. They’re like, ‘No.’ So how do you build a media business based on that?”
Johnson suggested that, like we saw with “CNN This Morning” co-host Don Lemon, it might be time for Licht and CNN to clean shop.
“We remember what they were saying four years ago,” Johnson said of CNN’s leading anchors. “And for all the Republicans who were treated like crap and stopped going on the network, you need new people. To me, that’s where Licht’s struggle has been the greatest.”
To emphasize Johnson’s point, Kelly then listed off some of the network’s anchors that are currently sticking points — but surprisingly saved some grace for “The Lead” and “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper.
“I mean, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Briana Keilar — my god, she was the biggest hater of all. Not to mention Jim Acosta. They’re up in that lineup still, all the Trump haters,” Kelly said. “And yeah, you don’t have to have that long a memory to remember that they hate not just Trump but the right half of the country. I’ll say a word in defense of Jake Tapper who I actually like — I think he’s left, but I think he at least tries to be fair. I know people don’t agree with me, but that’s how I see him.”
Watch the full “Megyn Kelly Show” segment in the video above.