Skip to comments.The Collapse of CNN
Posted on 08/18/2012 6:54:15 AM PDT by Kaslin
Whats 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 divisions 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. Gartners eventual dismissal).
CNN was in that position because its founder, Ted Turner, imagined that it might be, someday. When the day came, it wasnt luck. It was, to alter Branch Rickeys phrase, the residue of Mr. Turners leadership.
Fast forward to last Sunday. Theres 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 cant say that about another division of this company. What was the point? What Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin wrote into last Sundays episode wasnt 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 dont take my word for it. Look at the numbers. In the second quarter of this year, CNNs 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, CNNs 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 doesnt have is leadership. It isnt 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. Bewkess job. They cant, of course, challenge Mr. Bewkes directly. Bad manners, corporate suicide. They can, however, moan about the sorry state of one of the companys 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 wont 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 networks programming drifts along. Yes, the US ratings are embarrassing in primetime. Yes, viewership is actually down in an election year. Yes, the website isnt nearly as good as it could be. Yes, but so what?
This seems to be CNNs 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 ones surprise, it doesnt 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 couldnt 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 everyones attention.
The prospect of Mr. Ailes arriving at CNN Headquarters in New York with his wild-eyed band of FNC Hells 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: were taking this beach, in this way and if you dont want to help, then get the hell out of the way. He would actually lead.
CNN needs that kind of leadership. If it didnt matter, it wouldnt matter. But CNN is an important resource, nationally and internationally. CNN actually matters.
News to be replaced with Anthony Bourdain cooking shows.
Lynn Russell was a Hawt as hell
Search on the word “bias” - Not Found On Page.
I watched CNN once. My eyes & ears are still sore.
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.
no, cnn does not matter. it’s just another outlet spewing communist propaganda that no one is interested in any longer.
They’d rather be Left than be right.
They’d rather be Left than have decent ratings.
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.
But enough about the earthquake.
Have you seen George W. Bush’s poll numbers tanking?
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...
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.
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.
My only guess is they read the same blogs for topics.
Agree re Lynn. Also Chris Curle? (her husband Don Farmer was also on air)
Liberalism is what’s wrong
ClintonNewsNetwork and now liplock on Obama’s posterior
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