Thursday, May 26, 2005


Is it any wonder that I'm down on the TV news business when you hear stories like this next one. There was a big bloodbath at CBS News today.

Memogate and the bloggers were the final blow for 60 Minutes II. It was cancelled by the network a couple of weeks ago. And just as I feared, the minnows are the ones getting hurt in the end.

Today they canned some 50 of the 75 staffers on the show. A few are being reassigned to 60 Minutes, some are being told they might be reassigned to other parts of CBS News. The rest are out on the street and TVNewser cites one person as saying this is one of the saddest days they've seen at CBS News.

I don't know if this person had been at CBS News during the days of the bloodbaths of the 1980s, which were well documented in Who Killed CBS by Peter Boyer, and in several autobiographies, especially the ones of Lesley Stahl and Bob Schieffer. Those were absolute slaughters. But Memogate ranks as a total disaster for CBS News. It brought low an anchor ( Dan Rather ), destroyed the producers who had to leave the network because of it, and worst of all it got the show cancelled.

Leading to this. I don't think the staff expected this total slaughter; they knew layoffs were coming but nothing like this.

As if things aren't bad enough over there, I'm reading that Les Moonves and other people are looking to entertainment people for ideas on how to spice up the CBS Evening News and my thoughts about that are summed up by the famous last words: this is sad.

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