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The Collapse of CNN
The American Interest ^ | August 17, 2012 | John Ellis

Posted on 08/18/2012 6:54:15 AM PDT by Kaslin

What’s wrong with CNN? Rewind to 1991, the first night of the First Gulf War. American attack planes are dropping laser-guided missiles on strategic targets in Baghdad. CNN, with Peter Arnett reporting from Baghdad and Bernard Shaw anchoring from the US, owns the story. So much so that then-NBC News President Michael Gartner gave up on his own news division’s coverage of the outbreak of war and ordered them to carry the CNN feed for the remainder of the evening. (A decision, predictably, that led to Mr. Gartner’s eventual dismissal).

CNN was in that position because its founder, Ted Turner, imagined that it might be, someday. When the day came, it wasn’t luck. It was, to alter Branch Rickey’s phrase, the residue of Mr. Turner’s leadership.

Fast forward to last Sunday. There’s an episode of the “Newsroom” airing on HBO. In it, a “Newsroom” producer shows his fellow “Newsroom” staffers how CNN Headline News anchor Nancy Grace and her production staff shamelessly hype and distort the Casey Anthony story for maximum ratings impact. No one at Time Warner (which owns HBO and CNN) said to anyone at HBO: “you can’t say that about another division of this company.” What was the point? What “Newsroom” creator Aaron Sorkin wrote into last Sunday’s episode wasn’t wrong. It was true.

In a little over twenty years, CNN devolved from the most important television news organization in the world to another channel to skim through or skip over.

But don’t take my word for it. Look at the numbers. In the second quarter of this year, CNN’s primetime ratings basically collapsed. The overall numbers were down horribly and the key demos were down horribly. It was so bad that in primetime, CNN was losing to CNN Headline News, which is a little bit like the Yankees losing to their farm team in Columbus Scranton, every night.

On the day that this ratings news hit the wire, a ritual sacrifice was performed: the executive in charge, Jim Walton, “retired.” Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent, to whom CNN reports, was tasked with the assignment of finding a replacement. The search, as they say, is ongoing.

On one level, CNN’s woes are “first world problems.” CNN Worldwide is profitable (Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told analysts it would earn $600 million this year). CNN International is respected, widely watched and has the advertising rate cards that prove it. The network in general has a boatload of talented, dedicated, hard-working employees. If war breaks out in two places at once, CNN is probably the only US television news organization that can actually cover both in any kind of depth. And it has, at least in theory, access to the vast journalistic capabilities of the Time Warner magazine group and the (documentary) film-making capabilities of HBO. In short, it possesses the two essential elements of media success: richness and reach.

What it doesn’t have is leadership. It isn’t likely to get it any time soon.

The internal politics of Time Warner explain why. Most of the various division heads would like to have Mr. Bewkes’s job. They can’t, of course, challenge Mr. Bewkes directly. Bad manners, corporate suicide. They can, however, moan about the sorry state of one of the company’s flagship brands (CNN) to selected friends in the press. And they can “offer to help” fix this problem. And make that known to selected friends in the press. All the while, they will be doing everything they can to ensure that a suitably pliant executive is found to replace Mr. Walton. Even Mr. Kent, to whom the new executive will report, has an interest in finding someone who won’t overshadow him.

So the internal politics seem destined to produce more of the same. Without strong leadership, the fiefdoms maintain their power, the supposed “stars” stay in their places (not one hour of Wolf Blitzer, two!) and the network’s programming drifts along. Yes, the US ratings are embarrassing in primetime. Yes, viewership is actually down in an election year. Yes, the website isn’t nearly as good as it could be. Yes, but so what?

This seems to be CNN’s answer to most everything: “yes, but so what?” Consider Erin Burnett, who could be a superstar if properly produced. What does CNN do with her? They give her a not-very-well-produced show in the 7pm slot. To no one’s surprise, it doesn’t do very well.

The thinking, apparently, is that tinkering with the primetime line-up of Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan would be too risky. The exact opposite is true. It couldn’t possibly be less risky to move Ms. Burnett to 9pm and build a real show around her. Almost no one watches Piers Morgan. He is universally un-beloved.

Yes, but so what?

Mr. Bewkes would be well-advised to blow this all up and start fresh. He might begin by floating a story that he is considering hiring someone like Roger Ailes to come fix things at CNN. He might even suggest hiring Mr. Ailes himself, just for fun. That would certainly get everyone’s attention.

The prospect of Mr. Ailes arriving at CNN Headquarters in New York with his wild-eyed band of FNC Hell’s Angels is probably too good to be true. Sad to say. But say this for Mr. Ailes: if he ever did get the job, he would say: “we’re taking this beach, in this way and if you don’t want to help, then get the hell out of the way. ” He would actually lead.

CNN needs that kind of leadership. If it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t matter. But CNN is an important resource, nationally and internationally. CNN actually matters.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: cnn
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1 posted on 08/18/2012 6:54:19 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

News to be replaced with Anthony Bourdain cooking shows.


2 posted on 08/18/2012 6:57:44 AM PDT by Dr. Ursus
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To: Kaslin

Lynn Russell was a Hawt as hell


3 posted on 08/18/2012 6:58:16 AM PDT by al baby (“If Barack Obama has a Harvard law degree, he didn’t earn that. Somebody else made that happen.”)
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To: Kaslin

Search on the word “bias” - Not Found On Page.


4 posted on 08/18/2012 7:00:47 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Kaslin

I watched CNN once. My eyes & ears are still sore.


5 posted on 08/18/2012 7:03:20 AM PDT by certrtwngnut (It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes. (Josef Stalin))
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To: Kaslin
People who would watch CNN generally have the same intellectual foundation as those who “get their news” from Jon Stewart or their societal mindset from a dopey TV or reality show. Meaning, why watch Piers Morgan or the latest NewsBabe when “Like, Oh my God, I can like be entertained and like get my news, too?”
6 posted on 08/18/2012 7:09:13 AM PDT by ConservativeStatement (Obama "acted stupidly.")
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To: Kaslin
But CNN is an important resource, nationally and internationally. CNN actually matters.

It should and could matter because of it's resources but those resources are being used as propoganda to prop up Democrats, anti-American and Socialist policies (redundant, I know).

The viewing public see this, ipsofacto, it doesn't matter.

7 posted on 08/18/2012 7:11:49 AM PDT by capydick (''Life's tough.......it's even tougher if you're stupid.'')
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To: Kaslin

no, cnn does not matter. it’s just another outlet spewing communist propaganda that no one is interested in any longer.


8 posted on 08/18/2012 7:12:56 AM PDT by Jeff Vader (voting for romney, would much rather have Sarah Palin)
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To: Kaslin

They’d rather be Left than be right.

They’d rather be Left than have decent ratings.


9 posted on 08/18/2012 7:15:14 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Kaslin

CNN made their bones reporting the news faster and better than anyone else.

They comitted suicide when they decided to give up reporting the news and join the rest in shaping the news.


10 posted on 08/18/2012 7:15:46 AM PDT by Iron Munro ("Jiggle the Handle for Barry!")
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To: Kaslin
What it doesn’t have is leadership balance. It isn’t likely to get it any time soon.

Fixed it.

11 posted on 08/18/2012 7:18:49 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Conservatism is not a matter of convenience.)
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To: Kaslin
Clinton

News

Network

12 posted on 08/18/2012 7:24:45 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: Iron Munro

But enough about the earthquake.

Have you seen George W. Bush’s poll numbers tanking?


13 posted on 08/18/2012 7:27:45 AM PDT by relictele
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To: Kaslin

CNN’s only purpose today is to serve as the direct competitor to MSLSD in their race to oblivion. May they both win quickly and be replaced with Lucy or Gilligan’s Island reruns...


14 posted on 08/18/2012 7:27:48 AM PDT by Common Sense 101 (Hey libs... If your theories fly in the face of reality, it's not reality that's wrong.)
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To: Kaslin

Your comparison to the NY Yankees would be more appropriate if you had scratched out Scranton and substituted Trenton. Scranton/Wilkes Barre is their AAA team and Trenton their AA team.


15 posted on 08/18/2012 7:27:48 AM PDT by snoopy 'n linus
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To: Kaslin

With a homosexual, ‘Anderson Cooper’ who in the hell would name their progeny Anderson, and a Blitz Woofer as anchors what would one expect?

The rest of the mainstream media is busily crawling though the gutter with liars like Mr. Ed, Soledad and Madcow lip-synching Obozo;s talking points they’ll soon be toast.


16 posted on 08/18/2012 7:28:09 AM PDT by IbJensen (Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.)
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To: Kaslin
Thursday night I didn't get any choice in what to watch (public gym). Soledad O'Brien in for Anderson Cooper put on the identical show as Rachael Maddow on MSNBC.

My only guess is they read the same blogs for topics.

17 posted on 08/18/2012 7:28:43 AM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: al baby

Agree re Lynn. Also Chris Curle? (her husband Don Farmer was also on air)


18 posted on 08/18/2012 7:29:38 AM PDT by shalom aleichem
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To: Kaslin

Liberalism is what’s wrong


19 posted on 08/18/2012 7:31:30 AM PDT by bigbob
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To: Kaslin

ClintonNewsNetwork and now liplock on Obama’s posterior


20 posted on 08/18/2012 7:32:29 AM PDT by doug from upland (Just in case, it has been reserved: www.TheBitchIsBack2012.com)
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To: Kaslin

The Left’s talent pool is pretty thin, I blame it on the farm system they have in place which produces non-entities with little in that name of education beyond a small leftist cult’s talking point(s).


21 posted on 08/18/2012 7:35:08 AM PDT by junta ("Peace is a racket", testimony from crime boss Barrack Hussein Obama.)
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To: al baby

"In tonight's news we lead with these two fascinating items..."

Then CNN decided to go solely for the prime advertising demographic of 'dumb sluts' and eradicated any view, or 'views' that might appeal to normal people. Especially males.
They made a lot of money, for quite a while, doing that.

22 posted on 08/18/2012 7:39:40 AM PDT by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat Party!)
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To: Kaslin
Peter Arnett reporting from Baghdad and Bernard Shaw anchoring from the US

If i recall correctly , both Arnett and Shaw were in Baghdad at the time.
They did their live report from under the bed in a hotel room.
They also refused to be debriefed by the US military upon their return, saying the usual BS about they being above country loyalties"' etc.

23 posted on 08/18/2012 7:41:35 AM PDT by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire by talking, they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: Kaslin
I'm old enough to remember when CNN was new. I loved that station. They were 24 hour news and did a great job shooting down the middle.

Then something happened. Well, two things. 1) The Gulf War, and 2) Bill Clinton. Some kind of psychotic break occurred in that organization during that time and they became anti-war nutters that fell head over heels in love with Bill Clinton. They've never come back.

Soon after I watched them dismantle a good and decent president (Bush 1) in a completely partisan fashion, I stopped watching CNN and went into a news black hole until Fox News came along. I've never watched CNN voluntarily since. Since I travel a lot I get stuck with it in airports sometime and can see it's gotten nothing but worse since I left.

24 posted on 08/18/2012 7:43:31 AM PDT by LaserJock
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To: Kaslin
"What’s wrong with CNN? Rewind to 1991, the first night of the First Gulf War. American attack planes are dropping laser-guided missiles on strategic targets in Baghdad. CNN, with Peter Arnett reporting from Baghdad and Bernard Shaw anchoring from the US, owns the story."

And what do people remember from that? Bernie cowering under the table! And then getting the hell out of the country, leaving Arnett to fend for himself...

"So much so that then-NBC News President Michael Gartner gave up on his own news division’s coverage of the outbreak of war and ordered them to carry the CNN feed for the remainder of the evening. (A decision, predictably, that led to Mr. Gartner’s eventual dismissal)."

His dismissal was because he was a newspaper nebbish completely out of his element in 24/7 news coverage.

"Fast forward to last Sunday. There’s an episode of the “Newsroom” airing on HBO. In it, a “Newsroom” producer shows his fellow “Newsroom” staffers how CNN Headline News anchor Nancy Grace and her production staff shamelessly hype and distort the Casey Anthony story for maximum ratings impact. No one at Time Warner (which owns HBO and CNN) said to anyone at HBO: “you can’t say that about another division of this company.” What was the point? What “Newsroom” creator Aaron Sorkin wrote into last Sunday’s episode wasn’t wrong. It was true."

So Mushroom Head won a stopped-clock contest? Who cares...

Sorkin would rather make money off the meta than actually address the miscarriage of justice. That makes him every bit as scummy as he pretends Nancy Grace is, or even Casey Anthony...

25 posted on 08/18/2012 7:47:34 AM PDT by StAnDeliver ("So, a Mormon and a Catholic walk onto an aircraft carrier...")
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To: mrsmith

Lynne Russell was a favorite of mine on KENS tv in San Antonio.

Watched her now and then on Headline News.

What the heck happened to HLN? It used to be a half hour of bang/bang news.

Last time I saw it (a few years back) it was like the love child of Jerry Springer and Oprah Winfrey: complete crap.


26 posted on 08/18/2012 7:48:16 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Kaslin

They should change the name to DNN....Democrat News Network. Maybe Dems would watch it.


27 posted on 08/18/2012 7:48:57 AM PDT by jch10 (America needs some R and R!)
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To: Dr. Ursus
"News to be replaced with Anthony Bourdain cooking shows."

So they'll just co-feed The Food Channel, which is basically him, Alton, and Fat Boy.

28 posted on 08/18/2012 7:52:28 AM PDT by StAnDeliver ("So, a Mormon and a Catholic walk onto an aircraft carrier...")
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To: Kaslin
American attack planes are dropping laser-guided missiles on strategic targets in Baghdad. CNN, with Peter Arnett reporting from Baghdad and Bernard Shaw anchoring from the US, owns the story.

Bernard Shaw was reporting from a hotel room in Baghdad along with John Holliman. A comment on this 41 second clip says "This has to be one of the most powerful news broadcasts in the history of modern media." Anyway, I don't know how you could forget that Bernard Shaw was there.

29 posted on 08/18/2012 7:53:56 AM PDT by dr_lew
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To: All

They were good until Gulf War I when that whole Arnett business started. Then they turned into an advocate for the democrats which made it almost unwatchable.


30 posted on 08/18/2012 8:01:40 AM PDT by newnhdad (Where will you be during the Election Riots of 2012/2013?)
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To: Kaslin
CNN actually matters.

Only as a source of fiction ...

31 posted on 08/18/2012 8:03:44 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: Jeff Vader
no, cnn does not matter. it’s just another outlet spewing communist propaganda that no one is interested in any longer.

Yes, it's downright quaint....

32 posted on 08/18/2012 8:06:27 AM PDT by Calliecat
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To: Kaslin

I have a friend who was overseas recently and was appalled at the anti-USA slant of CNN in other countries. If you want to know where other countries get their anti-American bias, CNN stands as a prime example of what is hurting us. The reason CNN is NOT watched here and yet makes a profit world-wide is because they foster the hatred and disrespect for this country that many of them already crave. CNN feeds the animosity toward this country cravenly. The fact that this organization is given any access to our politicians and our events is sad - they should be treated like Al Jazzera - since their mission is pretty much the same.


33 posted on 08/18/2012 8:16:32 AM PDT by onevoter
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To: Kaslin

This would be one of my life’s dream to dismantle CNN and turn it into the Conservative News Network. I would take great delight in giving a lot of them their pink slips. It’s not just the anchors/reporters its also the producers who are even more left wing.


34 posted on 08/18/2012 8:17:05 AM PDT by bjorn14 (Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Isaiah 5:20)
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To: Kaslin

In 1992 CNN was the only news organization that had the gravitas and the people on the ground to be the ‘go to’ news organization. Now there is no news organization, I can turn on to get an honest news story. And do not for God’s sake say; Fox News. The thought of Shepard Smif or any of their “opinion journalist” doing a breaking big news story makes me want to barf. Maybe a Roger Ailes at CNN could resuscitate it.


35 posted on 08/18/2012 8:21:21 AM PDT by Tupelo (Sara Palin.............my write in vote for 2012)
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To: Kaslin
What it doesn’t have is leadership. It isn’t likely to get it any time soon. The internal politics of Time Warner explain why.

TW's corporate culture has been savage and anoxic for 30 years. It blasts and destroys everything it touches, including people.

36 posted on 08/18/2012 8:24:42 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: al baby
Lynn Russell was a Hawt as hell

I'd watch CNN today if Lynn Russell was still there.

37 posted on 08/18/2012 8:29:38 AM PDT by dearolddad
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To: relictele


38 posted on 08/18/2012 8:31:24 AM PDT by Iron Munro ("Jiggle the Handle for Barry!")
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To: Last Dakotan
My only guess is they read the same blogs for topics.

The guys at Breitbart need to get busy finding and breaking into the replacement for Ezra Klein's JournoList blog, and archiving their stuff and then dumping it all over the Web so we can see a) who's in the cabal and b) what they've been up to.

There were a number of big names that weren't on the JournoList. They were talking to one another somewhere else .... but never got outed. They need to be tracked down, found out, archived, and blitzed.

39 posted on 08/18/2012 8:31:56 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Kaslin

Glenn Beck says he has more paying viewers at GBTV than CNN (Communist News Network) has people viewing for free.


40 posted on 08/18/2012 8:35:35 AM PDT by blam
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To: Kaslin

Glenn Beck says he has more paying viewers at GBTV than CNN (Communist News Network) has people viewing for free.


41 posted on 08/18/2012 8:35:35 AM PDT by blam
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To: Kaslin
CNN constantly has their thumb on the Obama side of the scale. People do notice.
42 posted on 08/18/2012 8:40:09 AM PDT by JPG (Make it happen.)
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To: IronJack

"CNN actually matters."

Only as a source of fiction ...


43 posted on 08/18/2012 8:45:48 AM PDT by Iron Munro ("Jiggle the Handle for Barry!")
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To: Kaslin

CNN? They are still on?


44 posted on 08/18/2012 8:49:09 AM PDT by hadaclueonce (you are paying 12% more for fuel because of Ethanol. Smile big Corn Lobby,)
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To: Kaslin

I don’t understand why so many people have fallen for the left’s propaganda that the gulf war started in 1991. This is like claiming that world war two started on D-Day.

In reality, the war started in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The war was started by Saddam Hussein, not by George Bush.

I guess it just goes to show that if you repeat a lie often enough, even people who write for “The American Interest” will start to believe it.

Now that I got that off my chest, I can finish reading the article...


45 posted on 08/18/2012 8:51:17 AM PDT by Jordo
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To: Iron Munro

How does that rate on the Warp scale?

Is that closer to Warp 1 or Warp 10? It seems like it would be really fast, but Warp took them across the universe pretty quickly. Except for Voyager, of course, which never could seem to find its way back. (And I’ve never seen the final episodes, due to overseas deployment through that year. :-(


46 posted on 08/18/2012 8:55:35 AM PDT by xzins (Vote Goode Not Evil: The lesser of 2 evils is still evil!)
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To: Robe; newnhdad
Peter Arnett and Bernard Shaw WERE the ones and probably anyone with cable WAS glued to their TVs at the time. But when later the Arnette traitor absolutely refused to debrief info AND flat out said when asked if he would warn OUR military if he had pertinent facts that would be harmful TO our military, I believe he said NO.

At that point I was so appalled I never had any reason to watch CNN again. Now one of the debates will be anchored by that Candy Crowley who was having a tizzy fit on air about Paul Ryan not having a TIE on, when announced last weekend. SHE was chosen? WHY and the GOP/RNC says we are overreacting. As Paul Ryan continues to say - you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Well folks - WE need to be part of the solution. Let's get on this - volunteer do what you can for victory in November.

47 posted on 08/18/2012 8:55:35 AM PDT by WaterWeWaitinFor (Proud of our WI GOP "brass ones".)
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To: Robe

There is actually a pretty interesting conspiracy theory about CNN being in Iraq back in the day. Some funny youtube videos of off camera moments that make it look a little...well...its funny whether true or not.


48 posted on 08/18/2012 9:00:19 AM PDT by Crimson Elephant
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To: Crimson Elephant

I’m not endorsing this, but it is funny to watch RE: Old School CNN

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApZDJo5wsH4


49 posted on 08/18/2012 9:02:50 AM PDT by Crimson Elephant
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To: Crimson Elephant

I can’t find it but there was one scene on a video where the “outside” scene from Saudi Arabia panned to reveal a utility shelf as if they were actually in some basement somewhere. It has been awhile since I watched it, maybe there is an explanation and I missed it.


50 posted on 08/18/2012 9:06:15 AM PDT by Crimson Elephant
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