The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about CNN’s decision to interrupt the Eric Cantor loss coverage for tape…
Did CNN abdicate its commitment to breaking news Tuesday night when it broke away from live coverage of the primary election upset of Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, in favor of a special about the anniversary of the O. J. Simpson trial?
Not as CNN sees it. The network’s view is that it alone covered the Cantor news as it broke live. It pointed out on Wednesday that both Fox News and MSNBC were carrying their pretaped 8 p.m. shows, hosted by Bill O’Reilly on Fox and Chris Hayes on MSNBC, until several minutes past the hour.
CNN claimed to be first to suggest on the air that Mr. Cantor might lose to the Tea Party candidate, David Brat, when, at about 7:50 p.m., it began continuous coverage of the story. Both Fox News and MSNBC mentioned the Cantor race slightly later, Fox just before 8 and MSNBC at about 8:04.
The decision to switch to the Simpson documentary underscored CNN’s recent commitment to prerecorded programs in its 9 p.m. slot. After years of low ratings at that hour, CNN no longer has a regularly scheduled show with a regular host at 9. CNN executives have also said that the network is not in the business of heavy coverage of partisan political developments.
Oh baloney! Not in the business of heavy coverage of partisan political developments? First of all I’m not so sure this qualifes as a “partisan political development”. Second, what the heck was the network doing in the hour before and the hour after the Simpson special…airing home knitting DIY programming? And what does CNN do every election year? And what catchy name does CNN use to describe it’s political team?
Of course CNN blew it. They had this special which they put together. It was a topical special for that date in history so there was pressure to ensure that special aired that night. But the network blew it. Everyone was saying how this was the biggest political shock in decades…and CNN bailed out to run tape about sensational court cases.
This is the network that doted on and on about a cruise ship with dead toilets…the network that made a mockery of itself in how it wouldn’t (and really still hasn’t) let go of MH 370. And yet, despite going overboard on those stories, it could not stay on this story less than two hours after it broke?
Yes CNN, you blew it.