Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/30/09

Hey, CNN: It's News, Stupid!

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   9 comments
Dear Anderson Cooper:

Reading an article in the 10/27/09 NY Times about your declining ratings, I wondered why my wife and I used to watch you nightly without fail, but now watch you never. (We've been driven over to the Lehrer News Hour, soporific though it can sometimes be.)

It's not you, Mr. Cooper. We continue to like and respect you — or rather, your TV persona — and you rate very high on the Cosby/Cronkite scale, the measure of how much we want a TV personality to join us in our home every night. (Christopher Walken's a compelling actor, but as a news host, he wouldn't last two broadcasts.)

I've come up with several reasons, most of them doubtless no news to you; but if even one offers a fresh idea, I'm pleased to donate it. In no particular order then, I think your numbers fell because:

The news itself grew less exciting. The elections ended, Iraq started winding down, Afghanistan produced nothing but same old same old, and the financial crisis continued to be essentially incomprehensible, despite heroic efforts to explain it with very large screen projections. In short, the mega-stories dried up.

Tabloid headlines filled the gap. Michael Jackson and the girl kidnapped and held 14 years etc. etc. were undeniably news of a sort; but to milk them day after day — and sometimes week after week — quickly irritated people who's IQ numbers are higher than their ages.

Endless repetition substituted for the effort and expense of covering additional news. The rest of the world was squeezed into 60 second mashups while the megillah du jour was rehearsed again and again. The visuals themselves were maddeningly repetitious (If I see Madoff led into court just one more time!).

Talking head pundits grew more and more polarized. For every David Gergen, who actually functions as a news analyst, there was a pro wrestling ring full of costumed party liners, delivering the spin — ranging from left to right, to be sure, but nonetheless whirling like flywheels.

Computer enhancements grew more and more manic until the screen boiled with meaningless color and motion and audio transitions whooped as if synthesizers had just been invented. Circuses are equally loud, frenetic, and gaudy, but I can't take their hoopla five nights a week.

Together, these changes produced one fatal result: your broadcast lost its essential identity as a news program.

Adding wingnuts like Fox or seizure-inducing graphics like E! will only destroy the remnant of integrity that Anderson Cooper 360 retains. Instead, why not restore the format of a true information hour? Present a wide variety of news. Keep those studio Steadicams moving but spare us fake backgrounds full of clocks and monitors. Above all, dispense with pundits who sound like spokespeople for political lobbies. Give us variety in viewpoint and opinion, but see that it's thoughtful and nuanced. (For instance, though I'm a Progressive, I listen to David Brooks with respect.)

Will this prescription return you to the top of the cable news tree? I don't know; but as the old lady said about giving chicken soup to the man who'd just died of a heart attack, "It couldn't hurt!"

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Jim Stinson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

A career writer and media maven, Jim Stinson is the author of four mystery novels and a college textbook, Video: Digital Communication and Production. His newest novel, Tassy Morgan's Bluff, will be out from Penguin Books in June 2011. He lives with (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Beware of Yahoo "News" stories

School administration: the education reform they don't talk about

How McCain cheapens his admirable history

Michigan and Florida: What Happened; Who's Responsible?

Hey, CNN: It's News, Stupid!

What's with All the Happiness?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: