The flailing cable news pioneer could be less dumb if it wanted to be -- but it doesn't want to be
This year, my annual list of the worst of political media highlights not just individuals, but the institutions that enable those individuals. The 2012 Hack List will be counting down the 10 media outlets that are hurting America over the next two days — stay tuned! (Previous Hack List entries here, here and here.)
Maybe we beat up on poor CNN too often. I have previously bemoaned CNN’s inability to get breaking news right, offered advice on how to save the network and offered constructive criticism of their decision to hire Jeff Zucker. CNN was also well represented in 2011′s Hack List, with Wolf Blitzer, Piers Morgan, Erick Erickson and Erin Burnett all making appearances.
But it deserves to be criticized because so many of the things it does wrong could be so easily corrected. (Say, by firing Piers Morgan and cutting back on Wolf Blitzer’s hours.) And not only that, but CNN the institution is clearly capable of doing better, as it shows every day on CNN International, the sober (and profitable) overseas arm. Instead, it chooses every time to go harder on “personalities” and gimmicks. It has hired, to run its whole operation, the man who took NBC’s “Today” show and turned it from a regular news broadcast to a celebrity chat show and concert showcase. (He then proceeded to destroy all of NBC.)
CNN has a bigger staff, larger reporting budget, and many more overseas bureaus and correspondents than any of the other cable news channels, but the only time it ever betrays any evidence of those resources is during an international crisis. The rest of the time it’s Wolf babbling at a giant TV screen or Piers Morgan obsequiously interviewing a famous person. Take it away, anonymous CNN staffer:
“It’s frustrating to hear our leadership talk about the exemplary journalism we do, then turn on the TV during the day and see CNN doing another story about ‘birthers’ or ‘tips for dining out alone,’” said one staffer.
CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield — who used to report from war zones — today covered the Newtown massacre by asking “where was God?” and interviewing self-promotion expert “celebrity rabbi” and former “spiritual adviser” to Michael Jackson Shmuley Boteach for the answer.
This is an actual quote from Wolf Blitzer about national laughing stock Donald Trump:
“I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time and interviewed him on many, many occasions,” said Blitzer. “He’s an intelligent guy, not a stupid guy or anything like that. I assume maybe it’s an obvious reason. He believes it. He believes that there are a lot of questions out there. He’s read a lot of the conspiratorial theories and believes what he’s saying.”
Do you know what kind of person thinks Donald Trump is “an intelligent guy”? A stupid guy. And Blitzer is not exaggerating when he says he interviewed Trump “on many, many occasions.” Throughout the 2012 campaign season, CNN did not waste a single opportunity to provide free publicity to the racist birther fraud.
Also, CNN host Piers Morgan clearly engaged in phone-hacking and then dissembled to the British government about it, but CNN already knew he was guilty of insider trading and printed a hoax on the front page of his newspaper when it hired him so who knows where it would actually draw the line with him.
To make a moron and an unethical slimeball two of your network’s most prominent faces does not scream “the most trusted name in news,” to me. Though CNN changed its motto, last year, to “America’s Choice,” which does neatly sum up the network’s modern identity crisis. CNN: The generic store brand of cable news.
More Related Stories
- "Original Coca-Cola had a very small amount of cocaine"
- Corporations accused of wrongdoing win battle to keep identities secret
- Weak, incompetent Democrats blow another one
- Lois Lerner, IRS disaster
- Cyber attacks could cause the next world war
- Donald Rumsfeld worried that marriage equality will lead to polygamy
- Experts: Fox News spying scandal a game-changer
- Biden cracks Obama teleprompter joke
- IRS official takes the Fifth: "I have not done anything wrong"
- Lessons from Lincoln leave gay immigrants behind
- Los Angeles elects first Jewish mayor
- Peter King: There's "hypocrisy" over aid by Oklahoma senators
- Anthony Weiner announces run for NYC mayor
- How policy nihilists in the Senate doomed LGBT immigrants
- On freedom of speech, Obama-Nixon comparisons are apt
- Senate panel approves immigration overhaul
- Slave descendants seek equal rights from Cherokee Nation
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Is abortion about to doom Republicans again?
- Anti-voter-fraud Tea Party group sues the IRS
- The Bachmann-inspired romance novel
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11