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Coverage Of Capitol Hill Riots Marks Most-Watched Day In CNN's 40-Year History

Capitol Building invasion on Jan. 6
Capitol Building invasion on Jan. 6 Photo Credit: By Tyler Merbler -, CC BY 2.0,

Coverage of Wednesday’s home-grown terrorist attack on Capitol Hill led to CNN's “most-watched day” since the 40-year-old news service first launched.

CNN’s reporting on a pro-Trump mob as they bypassed law enforcement and smashed their way into the Capitol Building drove the network's television viewership to 5.22 million, according to the news network. Another 72 million people tuned into CNN Digital to watch the mayhem unfold.

To give an example of how big the spike in viewership was, CNN (Cable News Network) compared viewership of the insurrection and November election. On Wednesday, CNN said that live viewing of the riot peaked at 1.8 million unique viewers. Viewership peaked at 700,000 for the November presidential election.

The numbers may have been helped by CNN’s decision to drop cable authentication requirements soon after the capitol was breached - a move that allowed anyone, regardless of subscription status, to view the coverage online.

CNN is a 24-hour news television and digital service with various branches in the U.S. and across the globe. New York-based CNN launched in 1980.

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