Wednesday, June 01, 2005

CNN IS 25

This has been a big week for journalists. The Washington Post is having a big cow over Deep Throat, and CNN is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

All I'll say is that it's great for the journalism business that they have something to celebrate this week. This whole business has been beset with scandals and criticism and all kinds of turmoil; anchors leaving, shows being cancelled, etcetera. CNN hasn't escaped the turmoil either, with all its ratings problems and programming changes, and criticisms over certain programs of theirs (like Crossfire, which single-handedly was cancelled because of Jon Stewart). This week, at least, they can focus on the good things that they are doing.

TVNewser and CNNFan are covering some of the stuff happening this week at CNN. CNN is holding a big World Report conference talking about the news, and you have executives and correspondents talking about the direction they want to see CNN take in the future. I think it's great that CNN is doing this and I hope to tune in to their big 25th anniversary special tonight.

I hope they take time to enjoy this accomplishment of 25 years on the air. You know, when they started they were Chicken Noodle News. CNN may have their share of problems today but no one ever refers to them as Chicken Noodle News these days.

One other thing about CNN that I should mention: we should pause to remember the accomplishments of CNN's sports department. You know, I think they may get the short end of the stick in the celebrations going on, because the CNN sports department was basically put out of business after 9/11 when CNN decided to focus on news. It would be too bad if they are forgotten, because they were a big part of CNN for most of the 25 years that channel was on the air. They even had their own channel, CNNSI, for a brief period of time. The talent that went through CNN and anchored on the flagship sports highlight show Sports Tonight was just outstanding: Fred Hickman, Nick Charles, Jim Huber, Vince Cellini, Hannah Storm, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, the list goes on and on. It's too bad CNN got rid of Sports Tonight, because that show had viewers and it was a quality show. It was on the same level as ESPN's Sportscenter in terms of quality and talent during its heyday. The people in charge at CNN should really think about bringing it back. It livened up the channel, just as the entertainment news shows livened things up. Same with the lively-debate political shows, you need some of those, too. Otherwise you'll just be tuning in to misery all the time from people around the world who are down about the United States, and nobody wants to see that, that would be an open invitation to switch the channel to Fox News.

Mind you, Fox News is really starting to annoy people these days. They used to have some variety on that channel but these days it seems totally taken over by politics. Their loud hosts, obnoxious guests and non-stop conservative rants are just beginning to grate on people, and I think there's a big opening for a news channel that might not be so obsessed with political ranting and raving all the time. I think the people at CNN right now sense that.

Anyway, that's my rant on CNN. Happy 25th, CNN!

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