Dear Various CNN Execs:
If you want to put in a show that highlights opinions, then perhaps you could put in a show that just highlights the major Political blog posts of the day; or co-brand something with DailyKos or TalkingPointsMemo. Something. Anything. Lou Dobbs is beginning to sound alot like Nancy Grace -- and he's taking CNN down with him.
(edited in order to add some stuff.)
To: Jim.Walton@turner.com, Susan.Grant@turner.com, Jon.Klein@turner.com, Rena.Golden@turner.com, David.Payne@turner.com, Mitch.Gelman@turner.com
Dear Various CNN Execs / CNN Honchos / CNN Big Whigs:
I watch alot of news. Seriously, my wife tells me that I have a problem. I have watched cable news for most of my life and CNN has always been there.
For the most part, CNN has always been my first choice for news, although I will admit that I have deprogrammed CNN Headline News from my cable box because of the 763rd time Nancy Grace screamed about new evidence in the Holloway case caused my ears to bleed. So, now I can no longer even accidently come across CNN Headline News, which is sad -- it used to be pretty much my favorite. But it got to be so bad that it would affect my blood pressure -- removing it from my cable box was really just a small, personal victory. I did this for a year for MSNBC back in the day when Michael Savage was on.
I would do it to Fox News, but they've become so nutty and have lost all shred of decency and reputation, that I almost just consider it a comedy channel.
But that's not why I am writing.
I am writing because I feel that the reputation for the flagship CNN is running a little thin these days. As such I am contemplating making MSNBC my primary cable news of choice. That is, except for the weekends when they seem to run non-stop documentaries about prisons.
The reason for the reputation thinning is Lou Dobbs. I was heartened to read of Jon Klein's email today but was dismayed that it apparently had no effect. I understand that he has his own editorial control, but really there should be some sort of overarching CNN editorial control that overides dishonesty, lies, and obfuscation. It has reached the point that I am hoping that you will cancel his show.
If you want to put in a show that highlights opinions, then perhaps you could put in a show that just highlights the major Political blog posts of the day; or co-brand something with TalkingPointsMemo. Something. Anything. He's beginning to sound alot like Nancy Grace -- and he's taking CNN down with him.
Now, if I were in your position I would imagine that a hurdle to firing Lou Dobbs or Nancy Grace (again, I'm dreaming) would be the hassle of what to replace those time slots with. Allow me to make a couple of suggestions:
If you're just in it for the ratings (which is entirely plausible since you clearly are not in it for the pure, unadulterated journalistic integrity) then let me suggest a daily American Idol recap, or, for that Nancy Grace 55+ single female busybody demographic, perhaps a "Who Was Murdered Today" show.
But, I'm guessing that somewhere, somehow, you still want to be vaguely thought of as a bonafide news network. So, with that in mind, here is a great idea:
Do a show featuring ten-minute-highlights of the lives of each of the 5,081 U.S. casualties -- thus far -- in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You do 4 per show + 8 minutes of intros and extras + ad time.
Yes, you only devote 10 minutes per person. This, of course, would be versus the 792 hours you have spent on Natalee Holloway or the 54 hours you have given to the birthers and the tin-foil hat types. Yes, only ten minutes for the entire life of each of these casualties.
At 5,081 -- 4 per show -- that would be 1,270 episodes. At five episodes per week that would be 254 weeks worth of episodes. At 52 weeks a year that would be 4.8 years worth of programming. Not bad.
I'm sure you could get better sponsors willing to pony up to support the troops and highlight the lives of heroes.
Your ratings may dip, CNN, but consider that penance for your undying flag-waving support for the Iraq Invasion in the first place.
Please tell me that I will get a response to my letter lambasting Lou Dobbs, and, of course, Nancy Grace as well as my suggestions on what to replace them with.
Although, to be honest with you, lambasting Nancy Grace is really like taking candy from a baby. It's too easy. I feel dirty doing it.
I want to add that you can have my replacement show idea free of charge. My only condition is that you put my name in the credits. Right in the front, I want my name and title to be in large white letters and fade in and out for at least 4.2 seconds on a black screen. My title should be, "Guy Who Actually Called Us On Our Bullshit." According to my calculations, my name should appear at least 1,270 times.
However, I have the sneaking suspicion that the only way this letter will ever get any response would be if I Twittered it to Rick Sanchez.
But, seriously, I have several questions for you:
- I haven't seen any Alcoa ads on your network. I find this odd since Lou Dobbs is playing right to the tin-foil hat demographic. Is this an oversight on your advertising department? If so, can I get a commission as a finder's fee?
- What is the correct term for a plurality of CNN Execs? Is it a Gaggle? Or a Murder? Or something else? I just want know so that I can more appropriately address you in the future.
- Mr. Jon Klein - I noted with interest your email to Lou Dobbs earlier in which you were effectively taking him to the woodshed for his editorial direction as of late. Yet, apparently an hour later you released a statement saying that Mr. Dobbs had complete editorial control. The speed of this journalistic and editorial flipflop made my head spin. To whom may I send the chiropractic bills?
- Are Lou Dobbs and Nancy Grace married? Really, I think that would explain everything.
- Has James Earl Jones ever asked you to stop running his V.O. for fear that shows like Lou Dobbs and Nancy Grace might start hurting his reputation?
- And, lastly, I'm thinking about writing my Congressman in order to ask him to sponsor a national law specifying what, exactly, constitutes "Breaking News." Just out of curiosity, what would your opinion be on such a bill?
Best of luck,