Rumors are swirling once again that AT&T may be looking to shed some dead weight in the form of selling the “Airport Network.”
A recent report in the Wall Street Journal stated that CNN was on track to miss revenue targets by a massive $100-120 million this year, a figure significant in both dollar value and as a percentage of revenue for a network expected to bring in just under $800 million in ad revenue this year.
Appearing on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox Business’ Charles Gasparino pointed out that in addition to the network already struggling to hit revenue targets, if the media-projected election results do materialize, they risk losing the segment of their audience chronically suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. “CNN [would] not have Donald Trump to kick around anymore and their ratings will take a hit.”
“This rumor is real,” he said. “AT&T is a screwed up company and…CNN like a lot of media companies, it may have hit its peak, hating Trump.” And of course, any talk of CNN’s viewership peaking needs to be viewed in context of the fact that children’s cartoon reruns routinely beat the network in primetime.
Meanwhile, parent company AT&T has $150 billion in debt and needs to cut costs. Selling CNN would allow them to both pay down debt and shift the embarrassment of owning CNN to someone else. There are reports of the activist investors Elliot Advisors, who own a 1.2% equity interest in AT&T, started pushing them to divest from CNN back in August.
Gasparino had previously reported that there’s heavy speculation on Wall Street about Amazon.com founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was interested in buying CNN. Other companies that have been floated as potential buyers due to synergies they may have include Walt Disney’s ABC or ViacomCBS.
CNN has been among those suffering the worst from TDS in the Trump-era, which has led to a number of notable blunders in their reporting.
- Ten days before Trump’s inauguration CNN pushed the now-heavily-discredited Steele Dossier, discussing the non-existent “pee tapes” 77 times in under a week.
- In June of 2017 they reported that Anthony “10 day” Scaramucci was involved in a Russian hedge fund under Senate investigation. The story was completley false and three reporters who published it left the network.
- In December of 2017 CNN published a story claiming Trump’s campaign received an e-mail from WikiLeaks with a “decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents.” CNN reported on this on-air with the chyron “Emails Reveal Effort to Give Trump Campaign Wikileaks Documents.” As it would turn out, the e-mail went out in September 14, 2016, which is after that WikiLeaks information was available to anyone. CNN issued a correction but no one stepped down this time as their standards continue to deteriorate.
- In July 2018 CNN dropped the “exclusive bombshell” that Michael Cohen would tell federal investigations that President Trump knew of the infamous Trump Tower meeting before it took place. Michael Cohen would never do this, and the source of the claim was Cohen’s Clinton-loyalist lawyer.
- In February of this year, CNN reported that President Trump called the coronavirus a hoax, when in reality he was saying that the media pretending he wasn’t taking the virus seriously was the hoax. CNN was happy to deliberately quote him out of context and prove his point here, it seems.
That’s just to name a handful of examples – but with reporting like that, it’s no question why CNN is having trouble hitting their revenue targets, and why AT&T may want to jump ship.