Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The end of CNN?

Some media critics says they're done with CNN's growing pursuit of entertainment over hard news.

The end of CNN?

My favorite media critic, NYU's Jay Rosen, is all done with CNN:

As of today, I have retired from criticism of CNN for falling short of some sort of journalistic standard that news providers should maintain. That activity no longer makes sense. Let someone else receive the “ratings, you idiot” replies on Twitter. I’m done. I’m pretty sure you don’t care about this announcement, either. Which nicely illustrates why I’m done.

Me? I wouldn't say I'm done with them -- but I share Jay's frustration. The catalyst for the conversation is CNN's heavily caffeinated coverage of the Zimmerman trial -- especially after so much other newsy stuff (plane crash, even deadlier train crash, and especially the coup/violence in Egypt) happened over the weekend. The second the gavel banged at 9 a.m. today, those stories fell down the memory hole. In fairness, the coverage on MSNBC and (I think) Fox News has been similar. But people had come to see CNN as a place where they could get international news when the others weren't up to the job. Those days have ended. The Zimmerman case is very important news, but tjis wall-to-wall coverage isn't really "news" but a kind of "entertainment" -- what Court TV was supposed to be for, before it became The March Madness Play-In Network.

That's the real tragedy of cable TV. Almost every good idea for a channel that anyone has come up with -- a channel that shows trials, or a channel that shows music videos, or a "learning" channel, or ( heaven forbid) a history channel -- has been ruined by that free-market thing of everyone chasing the Powerball jackpot of ratings, which apparently involves a program about ice road truckers. (Who knew?) Or maybe a poop cruise. But that's the thing -- we used to think that news was above all this. Why were we so naive?

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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