While CNN anchor Jake Tapper earned a reputation as a journalist capable of keeping his bias to himself, that seemed to change dramatically during former President Donald Trump’s term in the White House.
In the months since Trump left office, Tapper has joined so many other anti-Trump voices in the mainstream media in seeing his audience shrink dramatically.
Signs of a broader trend
According to the Daily Caller, viewership for his weekday afternoon program The Lead has collapsed by roughly 75% since January.
His show’s decline provides even more evidence of CNN’s overall exodus of viewers since President Joe Biden was inaugurated.
Fox News, which has seen some audience decreases of its own in recent months, provided the latest update on Tapper’s numbers. While he averaged about 2.8 million viewers per show in January, that figure had reached a recent low average of just over 700,000 by June during the 4 p.m. ET hour.
The dropoff among the key 25-54 age demographic was even steeper, marking a reduction of about 79%.
Broken down even further, Tapper’s overall audience declined by 49% between the first and second quarter of the year, with a drop of 47% among the key demo during the same time span.
Cable news struggles in Trump’s absence
Extending his program from one to two hours in April did little to help the situation, with the 5 p.m. slot faring slightly better at an average of 799,000 viewers during the first three weeks of June.
Neil Cavuto, who hosts the 4 p.m. hour for Fox News, saw a more modest drop from 1.5 million in January to 1.1 million this month.
In May, a Daily Caller report cited Nielsen Media Research data that showed CNN was hit the hardest of all three major cable news networks in the wake of Trump’s exit from the White House. It had reportedly shed a combined 67% of its viewers since January, including 65% during prime-time hours and 71% from the key demographic during those hours.
For MSNBC, the overall loss was estimated to be about 49%, including 63% from the key demo. During prime-time hours, those losses were about 42% and 58%, respectively.
Following a post-election dip, Fox News had largely rebounded by the beginning of the year and has reclaimed its consistent position as the ratings winner in subsequent months.