The Psychology Behind CNN’s Implosion

CNN’s ratings post-Donald Trump have imploded by 65%, barely scraping together 800,000 average primetime viewers, down from 2.4 million in January. But why would Trump’s departure from the limelight be so devastating to the Left’s anchor cable news outlet?

I admit, I hold no degree in either the social sciences or journalism. But I have been in the commodities markets since 1990. Markets are, as any trader will tell you, very human constructs. Thus, the understanding of psychology plays a key role in market analysis. I’ve been doing this for many years, in both a sales and principal capacity, and so I think I’ve developed a pretty good handle on human nature.

For this reason, I was not surprised in the least that as so went Donald Trump, so went the ratings for CNN. The reason is that so many of their viewers are lost without the “Bad Orange Man.” Hating Trump was their raison d’ȇtre. Their sheer, unbridled, utterly bizarre animosity for this man is what gave them a purpose, an identity, and defined their social circles and who was friend and foe. Trump hatred, to them, was like an intravenous feed. They hauled their I.V. stand with the bag of Trump Derangement steadily drip-drip-dripping into their veins everywhere they went. And news outlets like CNN were the Big Pharma that supplied them with the constant dose of the “Orange Man Bad” solution.

Those sad people, whose otherwise empty lives were so driven by their Trump obsession, were the junkies to whom CNN pushed a steady supply of anti-Trump narcotics. And the network kept upping the dosage to keep them tuning in, no matter how implausible, dead end, or banal the stories seemed to the rest of us — Trump Jr.’s Trump Tower dud, years of Russia collusion, Comey’s self-serving escapades, John Brennan’s embittered sniping, James Clapper’s dour mendacity, Carl Bernstein’s “this is worse than Watergate”, the build-up to “Mueller Time”, Trump the “racist”, Trump the “misogynist”, Trump the “xenophobe”, Stormy Daniels and her sleazy lawyer Michael Avenatti (who appeared on CNN some 65 times before going to prison), Trump’s taxes, the fake dossier and Russian “pee tape”, Michael Cohen’s bumbling, the Japan fish food crime that wasn’t, Trump’s fast food diet, an unhappy Melania, the Officer Sicknick lie, the “threat to Democracy” themes, and so on. It never ended. One I.V. drip after another crafted especially for their core audience of the Trump Deranged…written not to cure them of their affliction, but rather pump more unhinging pathogens into their systems.

But now the drug has been cut off. Thanks to Big Tech’s unprecedented and dangerous banishment of a former president from the de facto public square, the addicts have been forced to quit cold turkey. And so they no longer need to tune in to the pharmacy window.

For five years, CNN has been, as Joe Biden might say, a “one-horse pony.” All Trump, all the time. Between June 16, 2015 and January 20, 2021, if you played a drinking game whereby you drank a shot every time CNN said “Trump”, you’d be unconscious before breakfast.

But now Trump is gone. And CNN suddenly finds itself in the unfamiliar position of having to be a news organization. But what else is there but Donald Trump? Their entire news apparatus was geared towards taking down this one man. How do they re-calibrate? What will they talk about now? Joe Biden? Even the most partisan hack will candidly admit the man is a feeble, empty vessel who’s led out to read from this or that piece of paper, or sit at a desk and sign here, and here, and here. Yawn. As far as CNN’s needy viewers are concerned, the drug store is closed. Time to move on.

On a deeper level, what does this abandonment of the all-Trump-bashing-all-the-time network say about its former viewers? To swing back to psychology for a moment, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists a mental disorder as: “a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior.”

I have tried on occasion to discuss Joe Biden’s policies with someone who is otherwise brilliant in his scientific field, and yet I truly believe suffers from a mental disorder as defined by the DSM-5 which is directly the consequence of his obsession with Trump. While I could take the “good Trump” or leave the “bad Trump” (of which there were both) this man cannot go a paragraph of conversation or line of text without pivoting to excoriating the Donald, even though he has been out of office for over 100 days. Needless to say, his two sources of news over the years have been The New York Times and CNN. But, like some 1.6 million others since January, he no longer tunes in to CNN. What’s the point? As far as he is concerned, if Trump is not in the news there is no news.

My friend is no different than the mainstream press whose constant stream of anti-Trump vitriol he so eagerly devoured for half a decade. As The Daily Wire reported, a recent Pew study shows that Joe Biden has received less negative coverage from the legacy media than any president in 30 years. That is hardly surprising. The mainstream media is now, for all intents and purposes, an extended press office of the DNC. What is more revealing is that half of all stories about Biden or his administration also mention Donald Trump. They simply cannot let him go.

One must think that CNN head Jeff Zucker is quite upset with Jack Dorsey for effectively de-platforming the man their viewers loved to hate. At least if Trump were still the mad tweeter, CNN’s writers would have something to write about every day. But now, with Trump gone, they are stuck just being another news outlet again. The Election of 2020, whose outcome they worked so tirelessly to influence for Joe Biden, effectively shattered their business model. Perhaps they should not have tried so hard to kill their golden-haired goose.

CNN’s ratings implosion is what happens when you become nothing more than an enabler for a feedback loop with your viewers that is based on the relentless destruction of one man. Because, when that man is gone, the gravity that held your viewers captive is gone, and they will scatter to the winds. In CNN’s case, by the hundreds of thousands. Live by the orange sword, die by the orange sword.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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