Fox News and CNN are 2 of America's biggest news sources - but they couldn't be more different. Here's how they've changed in the past decade.
- CNN used to be America's news "emergency room," but over the last decade it became clear that it wasn't enough to compete with Fox News and MSNBC.
- Fox News has continued on an upward trend ratings-wise, but it's success has been through its anchor's opinions, and since 2010 it's lost a few of its biggest stars.
- Here's how the two networks have changed in the last decade.
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It's been a big decade for CNN and Fox News.
CNN was launched in the 1980s. It made "news the star," and steered clear of politic bias. After defining itself with on-the-scene reporting during the Gulf War, for a long time, CNN was the nation's news "emergency room." People tuned in for breaking coverage of terrorist attacks or election results.
But as American media became more politically aligned, it wasn't enough. Coming into the 2010s, CNN was struggling. In 2013, former NBC head, Jeff Zucker was hired to run the network. Despite providing more political commentary, by October 2019, CNN settled into third place in viewer ratings, falling behind Fox News and MSNBC for the 10th quarter in a row.
On CNN's political right, Fox News has continued its upward march in the ratings. Since 2002, it's been the most-watched cable news network in the country, in part because of the prescient plan put forth by its former CEO, Roger Ailes.
But Fox News is a brand based on personalities. And in the last few years, it's lost them. Ailes, its leader, and Bill O'Reilly, one of its most recognized anchors, were both booted after numerous sexual misconduct allegations became public. Megyn Kelly moved to NBC. In 2019, Shepherd Smith, a rare Fox News straight news presenter, left as well.
The other elephant in the room is President Donald Trump. Since 2016, viewership at both networks surged thanks to his presidency. But he's also accelerated the polarization of political media, boosting Fox News when it praises him and turning CNN into a punching bag on the right for remaining nonpartisan.
Here's how the two networks have changed over the last ten years.