Amid Plunging Ratings, CNN Axes More Than 100 Jobs

By Zachary Stieber

CNN axed more than 100 jobs amid plunging ratings on the openly anti-President Donald Trump network.

Ratings in April dropped by 26 percent compared the previous year, marking the lowest-rated month in total viewers for CNN since October 2015.

Recent town halls the network held for 12 Democratic presidential candidates failed to garner much of an audience.

The continued downfall of the network has prompted widespread derision, with the conservative watchdog Newsbusters recently noting nine things that are more popular than CNN.

The struggles led to the company offering buyouts throughout the organization and around 100 people accepting the offer, reported Brian Stelter of CNN. A company spokeswoman told him that the buyouts were not layoffs.

According to Deadline, more than 100 buyouts were taken and include “dozens of seasoned employees.”

The buyouts mark CNN as the latest division of AT&T’s WarnerMedia to feel the effects of a company-wide restructuring after HBO and Turner axed employees. Richard Plepler and several other executives left HBO while David Levy, a 32-year company veteran, was among those leaving Turner.

AT&T was $170 billion in net debt as of the end of 2018, Deadline reported. It reported a debt reduction of $2.3 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

CNN Doesn’t Report on Muslim Children Singing Violent Songs

Both CNN and MSNBC ignored video footage showing Muslim children at an event in Philadelphia singing violent songs, including the line, “We will chop off their heads” for Allah.

The networks failed to report on the story even after the Muslim American Society, which hosted the event, issued two statements acknowledging the footage was real.

Searches on the CNN and MSNBC websites on May 6 for “Muslim American Society” returned no stories about the footage. The society issued statements on May 3 and May 4 about the videos, which were originally uploaded onto the Facebook page for the society’s Philadelphia chapter.

The first 10 results for the search on CNN’s website returned stories about Alex Jones, the conservative commentator who was recently banned from Facebook, ISIS, and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of the two Muslims in Congress.

The top results for the search on MSNBC’s website primarily featured positive stories about Muslims and negative stories about President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly warned about radical Islamic terrorism amid attacks by ISIS and other terror groups across the world in recent years.

Other legacy outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post didn’t report on the issue either, but did post a story from the wire outlet The Associated Press.

The story focused on the defense of the videos by the society and included little information about the videos themselves or the analysis of the footage and the songs and poems sung by the young children in the clips. It didn’t embed any of the videos.

muslim group responds to video
The Muslim American Society’s Philadelphia chapter. (Google Maps)

The story also said that Ayman Hammous, executive director of the society, “emphasized that the Muslim American Society has no organizational link to international groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement whose supporters sometimes advocate for violence.” The society states as much on its website.

According to a slew of documents and interviews obtained and conducted by the Chicago Tribune, however, the group was actually started by members of the Brotherhood in 1993.

The group always operated under a different name in the United States and some members decided to start the society during a meeting of members from across the nation in Illinois in 1993.

Former Brotherhood member Mustafa Saied told the Tribune that about 40 people gathered that day on the Alabama-Tennessee border. A vote established the society, according to Saied and documents the Tribune obtained. Leaders were instructed to tell people that they were an independent group.

“And if the topic of terrorism were raised, leaders were told to say that they were against terrorism but that jihad was among a Muslim’s ‘divine legal rights’ to be used to defend himself and his people and to spread Islam,” the Tribune stated.

Shaker Elsayed, a top society official, acknowledged that the organization was founded by Brotherhood members but said the group didn’t have a connection with the Brotherhood. The group focuses on helping establish Islamic governments in Muslim lands, he said. It also focuses on schools, teachers, and children, spending most of its money in the education arena and trying to convert youth or strengthen their Islamic faith.

According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (pdf), society officials have repeatedly espoused founders of the Brotherhood even as they try to distance themselves from the group.