CNN was born at 5:00 p.m. EST on Sunday June 1, 1980.
Today, thirty two years later, it has gone from it's glory days as a revolutionary new cable news channel to an utter embarassment. A slowly dying conventional wisdom pimping false equivalence and gossip pushing inside-the-beltway cocktail party crowd engine of epic fail.
What is just amazing is that it is clear that they don't know why this is happening to them.
Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent reacted to CNN's growing crisis on Thursday, admitting that he was "very unhappy" with the dismal ratings and hinting at plans for improvement.Does that make any sense at all? Seriously.
After CNN hit a twenty-year primetime ratings low, Kent attributed his network's pitiful performance to "a slow news cycle", and what he later called "self-inflicted" causes.
"We haven't put the best shows on the air," he confessed.
However, he moved on to defend CNN's overall primetime lineup as having "very high potential." He praised Anderson Cooper, and singled out both Erin Burnett and Piers Morgan, whose shows saw particularly bleak ratings results in May, for strong backing.
I'm unhappy. We are screwing up. I don't like the results. Things so have to change.
Oh. Some of the biggest trainwrecks are all right with me, and I stand behind them.
Genius. Sheer genius.
The key to success is to acknowledge the fail, preserve the fail, and then go about dealing with the old fail by doubling down on a brand new fail. It worked so well for the Bush administration.
Here's a hint: CNN is not failing because Fox News and MSNBC are partisan while you are not (snicker), or because of any slow news cycle, but because CNN is totally and utterly awful most of the time it's not showing commercials.
I wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and show Ted Turner the future CNN to come. A few hours of Jon Avalon and Erin Burnett's gooey on air banter that basically amounts to verbally fellating Alan Simpson and Pete Peterson alternatively, or one single viewing of Very Serious Person Howie Kurtz's wretched "media watchdog" show on Sundays might change the old man's life plans.
CNBC alum Erin Burnett is a "good get" for the network? Really? Have you seen her show? Good. Almost nobody else in America has on a regular basis, and for good reason. It sucks. It sucks because of the show's vapid host, it's content, it's editorial focus, and it's smarmy self-satisfied smugness from start to finish.
Nobody who works hard for a living wants to come home and listen to a parade of rich people endlessly celebrate the inherent superiority of the really, really rich. The lot of them all "deal" with issues of poverty and unemployment as a hypothetical. A golden opportunity to piously lecture their lessers on how they have to suffer for the greater good of people, well, like them. Austerity pimpage is easy when it's not your pain. Ever.
You also think professionally thin-skinned Piers Morgan having Scott Baio or the guy who played Urkel talk about Greece staying in the EU or interviewing Jonah Goldberg, twice, is where the future is at? You replaced Elliot Spitzer's awful show... with Out Front. You replaced Larry King with Piers Morgan. Anderson Cooper is as famous for his on-air gigglefests as he is for anything else he does on his show. That is, when he isn't fingerwagging and sternly lecturing the rest of the world about how much more he cares about tragedy x or disaster y than the next millionaire spokesmodel the Vanderbilt heir competes with. Something as dumb as 'The RidicuList' is really something that only an entitled asshole and his cadre of yes people could think is really fucking clever.
Oh. David Gergen. Dana Loesch. Erick Erickson. Jon Avalon.
Those are the kind of hires an institution makes that fundamentally misinterprets its being a huge slave to both conventional wisdom and its own organizational vanity as being the same thing as it being "a non-biased voice of the independent middle".
How can you not know that standing on a pile of shit means that you stink and your shoes get ruined? Who concludes the idea is to buy more shit and make the shitpile bigger?
That's the kind of strong leadership, finger on the pulse of the public, and far-sighted wisdom that American auto executives were famous for in the 1970's and 80's when they gave us the exploding Pinto and turned the Ford Mustang into a plastic wimp mobile rather than try to keep the car cool, powerful, and make it more efficient and safe at the same time.
Name a false equivalence, identify a bogus comparison, frame a clearly visible problem as being the result of everybody being to blame equally, ignore a blatant outright total liar's big lies but frame somebody truly speaking truth to power as untrustworthy and CNN has probably pushed one of these memes on one of its many crappy shows.
Let's say that Out Front with Erin Burnett gets canned.
I think I know based on prior history:
The Evan Bayh and Harold Ford Show. That will fix things!A real sea change from the failing status quo!
You can package it with a panel show staring Jon Avalon, Will Cain, Erick Erickson, and Dana Loesch called "American Issues Left Right & Center".It's like embracing guzzling fuel oil and eating broken glass as the cure for what ails you.
Erin Burnett has managed to do something that takes ineptitude to a new low, she found a way to deliver the worst ratings for the 25-54 demographic in twenty years.
Somehow, this will all lead us to... the Blanche Lincoln Show. That, and more confusion about why things are not getting better in the ratings.
It's not about liberalism, conservatism, or centrism. It's about celebrating and empowering awful people who have hurt America dearly as if they are America's greatest champions and putting forth as your on-air avatars people who are serially wrong about most everything they present to the public as if they are the most credible voices with long records of being spot on.