Monday, November 07, 2005


I have to rant again about CNN and this miscarriage of justice over there. Something about this Aaron Brown thing just isn't right, people.

And it's remarkable I'm saying this because, frankly, I'm not a big Aaron Brown fan to begin with. He's basically got this big reputation for appearing condescending on the air and for being the personification of the mainstream media. Maybe that's true. But you can't go around booting people off the news just because people may not like their personalities.

That's what's getting me about this latest CNN plank-walking. In the past I put up with their decisions to cancel "Sports Tonight" and "Crossfire" because they said they wanted to do a better job to cover the news, and that people thought these shows were garbage, and so on. But now they've gone after the help, people like Bill Hemmer and Judy Woodruff, and others. They're booting people on the street because they think that people don't want to see them on TV. Here, they don't think the problem is the show or the format anymore, they think the problem is Aaron Brown. They're basically telling the world that he's too old and unhip, and that putting a hip new anchor in at 10PM will solve all their problems.

What nonsense. I think this move of Anderson Cooper to 10PM is really odd. CNN is antagonizing all the purists, the hard-news fans and the CNN loyalists by sacking Brown and putting in this hurricane-chasing, emotive, ex-reality show host as an anchor. And they are doing nothing to attract the populist people who are glued to Greta Van Susteren. You think Cooper is going to get these Fox Fans to tune in to see him cry on TV? The Greta audience is out for blood, they want JUSTICE. What CNN needs to do (let's face it) if they are serious about winning in prime time is put on more talk shows and more stories about criminals and other lowlifes. Yet they won't do that, and insist on doing straight hard news. They say news is the star over there again, then they turn around and blame their ratings problems on the anchors who are stuck hosting their boring hard-news programs.

If they're going to stand on principle and put on hard news, that's great, but they ought to know that it won't win and should quit acting as if it will ever win with a different group of anchors or different shows. At some point CNN will have to say "hard news isn't going to win in the ratings" and figure out whether to keep their commitment to hard news. What they really ought to do is say "we're going to do hard news shows because that's what we're about," then back their anchors 100% regardless of these ratings. No more of these cancellations and firings, no more shows getting yanked off the air. Heck, even Peter Jennings knew a heavy lineup of foreign news on World News Tonight on ABC would never win in the ratings, but they went and put it on anyway because they felt it was important. Yet CNN won't back their current crop of personalities and keeps finding fault with the way they present their own news.

So now they are trying to make Anderson Cooper out to be a big saviour and their big idea of what a great reporter should be. Heck, he already had a show, at 7PM! And wasn't his show getting beat, too? By Shepard Smith? I guess that's why I'm ticked off. I'm ticked off when organizations that are supposed to be serious about covering the news turn around and get rid of good people in order to try and make a big star out of one of their other, more favored news reporters. It reeks of entertainment, such a move. And it looks like favoritism. It's pretty hypocritical.

A lot of people are comparing this to Ashleigh Banfield and what happened with her, and I must admit, that was one of my first thoughts. It just so happens that Tim Goodman happened to say the same thing in print, and also invoked the name of Arthur Kent, who, last I heard, was still rummaging around Afghanistan or somewhere like that. In Banfield's case, misguided MSNBC executives gave her this prime-time show, thinking her great 9/11 reporting work would attract young people to watch TV news. Instead, Ashleigh tanked and she was canned. CNN is using the exact same playbook with Anderson Cooper. They somehow believe his hurricane coverage has made him a big draw for young people to watch CNN, but all this move to 10PM does is make Cooper a lightning rod for the critics. Already we're hearing people call him the "Yale Geraldo" and so on. And the hurricane season is pretty much done, so the reasons to watch him now are nonexistent. His days of good press clippings are over: this guy is DOOMED.

I shudder to think of what will be next at CNN. What'll probably end up happening is the administration at CNN will get turfed, again, and then the next administation will not only trash Anderson Cooper, but go after Larry King, Lou Dobbs, Paula Zahn, and maybe even Wolf Blitzer. They'll try and hire Jon Stewart to replace Larry King, and we'll end up with CNN getting ruined for the fans. Again. CNN needs to quit making all the panic changes they always make over there. They need to quit following the MSNBC playbook! CNN should NOT want to emulate MSNBC. It needs to get back to what they were doing ten or fifteen years ago. But they don't seem to be able to do it.

Maybe they need to bring Ted Turner back. They need to bring a lot of people back.


Classic said...

_As a daytime viewer, it looks like pure cost cutting!
_One remaining lead anchor/show for the entire afternoon plus+, rehashing over only one primary story with a small set of in-house panelists. The snazzy video(s) wall is mere window dressing.

dunce007 said...

CNN has lost it ! There is no real news reporting there anymore.