CNN Sets Viewer Record With Country Fixated on Capitol Mob

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AT&T Inc.’s CNN had the most-watched day in its history, with viewers flocking to the channel’s coverage of a mob of Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol.

More than 5.22 million viewers tuned in to CNN on Wednesday to see images of Trump loyalists occupying the building and clashing with police, who tried to hold them back with tear gas, batons and flash-bang devices.

CNN’s coverage topped both Fox Corp.’s Fox News and Comcast Corp.’s MSNBC in total viewers and in the 25-to-54 demographic that news advertisers covet. CNN said its livestream peaked at 1.8 million viewers, surpassing the number who tuned in on Election Day.

Overall, more than 23 million people tuned in to seven cable news and business networks during the afternoon. Fox said its coverage in that time slot drew the network’s highest average rating since the U.S. Senate hearings to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in September 2018.

In a speech near the White House earlier Wednesday, President Donald Trump incited thousands of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol building while Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

During CNN’s broadcast, anchor Jake Tapper described the protesters surrounding the building as a “bloodless coup” and “an attempt at sedition.”

“It’s an absolutely shameful, disgusting situation that we’re witnessing here,” Tapper said.

CNN’s historic ratings are perhaps a final example of how the drama created by Trump has been a boon to cable-news viewership. Many observers are expecting news ratings to decline during the Biden administration.

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