I read a lot of news, probably too much. While I have my favorites, I try to keep my sources varied and I really want to keep an open mind to differing viewpoints. Inherently, this isn't easy to do because everyone has a slant. An angle that they are comfortable expressing and that they're passionate about. Sure, I can't stand blowhards like MSNBC's Lawerence O'Donnell or Fox News' Sean Hannity, but they are just trying to express their angle on the American political landscape. They have a voice, and while I think its crap they think at least they have something to say.
Notice in the previous paragraph I did not use CNN as an example. This is because CNN tries so hard to be "America's Most Trusted News Network". The problem is that in their pursuit of trust, they have ended up killing their network:
CNN has taken another big ratings blow: The cable news network has registered to its lowest-rated quarter in primetime since 1991. For this year’s second quarter, CNN hit a low among total viewers and the key adults 25-54 demographic, with all primetime programs posting steep declines. The network averaged 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the 25-54 demo in primetime.
CNN is dying a slow cable news death, and honestly I'm not surprised in the slightest. Why is that?
- They don't play to the parties: While many Republicans would beg to differ, CNN doesn't cater to a particular political party. Objective news is something they claim to strive for and in comparison to MSNBC and Fox News, CNN is far more even keeled. Unfortunately, when a Republican watches CNN they accuse the network of being "Liberal Media" while democrats accuse CNN of catering too much to Republicans. Since only party line individuals(and old people) tend to watch cable news, this causes a majority of the news media's audience to be alienated by CNN.
- Independent viewers don't trust CNN: They alienated the party line folk, so what about independents? Well, these mostly younger individuals don't watch CNN because despite their attempts to be objective, they completely fail in their mission. Let's go back to Hannity. He is an idiot in my opinion, but when he says something completely dumb, he says it with passion. This tends to turn off true independents but attracts their party line. Another example is Rachel Maddow. Last Friday on Real Time with Bill Mahar she openly defended the Fast and Furious Program (I wish I could get a clip, but its not TV, its HBO), a dimwitted program designed to supply guns to Mexican Drug Lords so we could better track gun trafficking (???). She sat on that show and despite the obvious hypocritical nature of defending the program, she did it with passion.
CNN does not do this blowhard delivery, but instead they mask their angle just slightly. The problem with this is independent viewers can see it from a mile away because its still real obvious that their agenda matches whatever the government's agenda is at the time. CNN is pro-war, pro-drone killing, pro-tax cuts, pro-Wall Street, pro-whatever the hell the government wants.
- CNN plays for ratings: Since they play for both sides, CNN wants to have races close. A good example of this was Super Tuesday this year in the Republican Presidential Primaries. Early in the night they said it was a sweep for Romney and started talking about how he would match up against Obama, trying to heighten the ratings of the main event. Later that night though, Santorium was looking like he could win Ohio which would have completely changed the momentum in the primaries because it would show Romney couldn't win an important swing state. After this, CNN talked for hours about if Ohio was lost by Romney that the race would be wide open again. The stupidest part of the Santorum hysteria is that Ohio hadn't counted the Urban areas yet, which were going to go to Romney as he is more moderate. Well sure enough Romney pulled away with the victory and then the pundits all restarted their narrative from earlier that night about Romney versus Obama. This all happened in three hours.
- Their Hosts Suck: Erin Burnett is a Wall Street shill and boring. Piers Morgan is a slobbering fame whore and in retrospect makes Larry King look like a CIA interrogator with his level of questioning. Anderson Cooper does the Rediculist, a petty vapid piece of television where he attacks dumb celebrities on his news media high horse like some gossip reporter for TMZ. Then there's Wolf Blitzer, who did this.
I think we need objective news on television, but CNN consistently fails in their attempts. Without attracting the party lines or independent viewers, they will be subjugated to irrelevance. And hell, if they make stories like this, I really won't miss them much at all.