Why is CNN failing?

It recently came out that CNN’s ratings put it in fourth place behind Fox News, MSNBC, and even CNN’s own Headline News for a good portion of the week.  But why has CNN fallen so far?  They claim to be the only network that tries to be unbiased in its reporting and they certainly haven’t given shows to people who could be considered to be outright partisans such as Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow.  How could a network that claims to be the one source of unbiased 24/7 cable news be the worst performer?  If I had to make a guess at why, I would say it is because people like their news slanted towards what they already agree with.  Fox News has an undeniable Republican slant to their news and MSNBC has a Democratic slant on about half of their shows.  While some say that CNN is just another liberal news organization that doesn’t report fairly or accurately when it comes to conservative values, those tend to be complaints from people that see all news that they do not agree with as being from a liberal media and can therefore be ignored as they have no real basis in reality.  So where does CNN go?  One thing they could do is finally decide that some stories will come out one sided and just let it go without trying to make a second side to the story when there isn’t one.  An example of this is a poll they ran a few days ago about the U.S. healthcare system.  In this poll they determined that roughly 80 percent of the U.S. population is happy with their health care coverage but of that 80 percent about 52 percent said they were unhappy about the cost of the coverage.  The only reason I can see to publish this poll is because of the upcoming battle over healthcare, trying to present a level playing field where the idea of a single payer healthcare system might not seem like the best idea but at the same time make it appear popular largely based on the issue of cost.  The problem with the poll was that it was inaccurate because it completely left out the millions of Americans that currently have no health insurance.  Roughly 17 percent (as of 2007) of the country does not have any form of health care coverage.  If we were to add a representative sample of that 17 percent into the equation we might find that considerably fewer than 80 percent of the population would approve of their health care coverage and even more would be complaining about the price – thus setting the stage for an open and honest discussion about the state of the American health care industry.  I found it shocking to see that CNN would even publish a report that was so obviously misleading.  Anyone that had taken college level courses on polling would have been able to quickly see the massive flaw in their methodology.  This poll, for me anyway, highlighted the biggest problem with CNN, they would compromise their journalistic integrity just to try and keep from being labeled as biased.  By trying too hard to be unbiased, they lose viewers to cable networks like MSNBC and Fox News because those networks aren’t afraid to make a call on an issue either way.