Archive for the CNN Category

CNN’s Post Election Headache…

Posted in CNN on May 27, 2016 by icn2

Politico’s Alex Weprin writes about what CNN will do once the election gravy train ends…

For starters, CNN is taking one of the lessons it learned from this cycle and figuring out a way to apply it to a slightly less predictable news cycle. CNN’s strategy of booking frequent town halls with the candidates usually delivered strong ratings for the channel. Going forward, it hopes to host more live “events,” including, potentially, more town halls.

“I think you will see us try to do a number of events,” Zucker said. “The town halls all started with the guns town hall that President Obama did in January, that is where the town hall thing began. It doesn’t have to be completely tied to the election. We proved that with the guns town hall, the opiate town hall. I think you will see a lot more programming like that.”

Sadly there was no mention regarding the CNN’s serial abuse of countdown clocks…

Et tu, CNNI?

Posted in CNN on May 9, 2016 by icn2

Jeff Zucker is forcing CNNI to cover campaign 2016 in ever greater detail. It’s launching a new nightly show with Kate Bolduan to do the job. Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton has more

“Every night we’re going to bring our international audiences along for the ride – offering the very latest developments from the campaign trail and giving them the inside scoop of what is really going on within the campaigns and in the minds of American voters,” said Bolduan in a statement.

The series will launch May 16th.

Aren’t you just tickled silly by this prospect international audience? Welcome to our cable news nightmare…

Don Lemon: Media Joke…

Posted in CNN on May 1, 2016 by icn2

It has been such a long time since I had last been forced to write about Don Lemon and his self-inflicted wounds. More than a year at least. I had begun to think our boy Don had turned a corner from having the reputation of being a media joke to someone who at least learned not to make brain dead ebarrassing mistakes on a regular basis.


I was wrong.

Yeah, it was beyond stupid for Lemon to flip the bird at the Correspondents’ Dinner…joke or no joke. There is no upside and a whole lot of downside from taking such action…specifically, reviving that meme that Lemon is a walking Hazard of Live TV. Just when I thought he was free and clear Don Lemon has another Don Lemon moment.

But that incident isn’t the big story. This is the big story

Lemon’s agent shot and then released a picture of Lemon and Wilmore together with Lemon counting to one for the second time that night.


Your agent is supposed to protect you from harm, to guard you, to steer you from potential danger scenarios.

Not pour more gasoline on an already raging fire.

What on earth was Lemon thinking? What on earth was Lemon’s agent thinking? You want to push this incident behind you as quick as possible, not extend its shelf life.

There are no positives to be had from photos of Lemon giving anyone the finger. Only negatives. One was bad enough. Two in one night? Are you insane?

The first finger could be chalked up to “being overly impulsive” to Wilmore’s pretty hard shot at Lemon. I could see that. It’s still childishly stupid that a grown adult and someone who allegedly wants to be considered a serious journalist can’t exercise basic self-discipline. But I could see it just “slipping out”…particularly from Lemon.

But the second incident is a whole other matter. That was deliberate. And nobody stopped to consider what that image would say about Lemon and how it would negatively impact him. Certainly his agent didn’t, that’s for sure.

If Lemon (and presumably his agent who is also Wilmore’s agent) wanted to establish that the first incident was all in fun and there was no animosity involved there were dozens of ways they could have gone about it without having to resort to a second crude gesture.

How about a photo of the two with their arms around each other? That gets the message out and does so without having to remind everyone about Lemon’s lack of self-discipline.

By opting to go with the option with the greatest potential for ridicule, Lemon shows he still hasn’t learned a damn thing from all the previous self-inflicted wounds he landed upon himself and his network. He still doesn’t understand the concept of optics.

As for his agent, if it were me I’d fire him. I want my agent to look out for me, to see the things I may not. Not to make life more difficult for me.

More Zucker Analysis…

Posted in CNN on April 25, 2016 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple takes aim at Jeff Zucker over his Guardian interview…

Zucker told the Guardian that CNN was holding Trump’s “feet to the fire” and cited a town hall event in which Anderson Cooper fired tough questions at the candidate. And he spoke of an evolving approach to doing cable news: “It used to be CNN and other television outlets were founded on this idea of a news wheel. You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world. But that’s not the way people consume news and information any more. So on television we are going to go much deeper on the one, two or three stories of real significance or interest that day, and we are going to satisfy all your news needs and questions digitally.”

Bolding added to dispute a talking point: Sure, TV news may be focusing its coverage more on just a couple of stories, but that’s not to say that the treatment is “deeper.” It’s just often more repetitive.

Spin Control…

Posted in CNN on April 25, 2016 by icn2

Jeff Zucker gives a self-serving interview to the Guardian’s Jasper Jackson…

“We are covering the story, and he’s been the Republican frontrunner for almost a year now. I only wish that CNN had that much power to be able to create a frontrunner on either side … The critics of Donald Trump are looking for people to blame for his rise. There are many people who are either surprised by his strength, or don’t like him, and want to blame someone to explain why he has been this popular.”

Nice way to reframe the issue. Only an idiot is going to blame cable news in general for Trump’s rise. But that dodges the central question which Zucker does not want to answer…was CNN’s Trump coverage proportional to the front runner or over the top even by front runner standards?

And while critics have highlighted CNN’s wall-to-wall Trump coverage, filling the airwaves with what Zucker describes (along with the war on terror) as one of “two amazing stories in the world right now” fits the strategy he has pursued since taking over in 2013. “It used to be CNN and other television outlets were founded on this idea of a news wheel. You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world. But that’s not the way people consume news and information any more. So on television we are going to go much deeper on the one, two or three stories of real significance or interest that day, and we are going to satisfy all your news needs and questions digitally.”

Translation: We are in it for the ratings and only the ratings. News doesn’t matter. We want your eyeballs and so we will stick to the three biggest water cooler stories of the day. You want news? Piss off to your computer or tablet…

The news wheel may or may not be dead but it’s not the reason why Zucker is doing this. And we know this is the case because of what CNNI covers. If going three stories deep at the expense of world news is the silver bullet Zucker makes it out to be, CNNI should be aping this model.

That CNNI still follows the news wheel says all you need to know about how “poeple consume news and information any more”.

What Zucker is really saying here:

Americans are stupid people. We are betting against you by giving you twaddle instead of news. We figure you’ll be more interested in watching stuff that distracts or entertains you over being actually informed. The rest of the world doesn’t operate by this standard which is why we have CNNI. But in this country, we want big ratings so that means cutting back on news and giving you Trump 24/7. And you suckers will go for it because you don’t know any better. We aren’t leading this revolution. We’re following you. And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The irony in all this: The Guardian is an international paper filled with readers who crave the very news CNN US is all but abandoning. Talk about the wrong audience for this interview…

CNN US Has Lost Its Way…

Posted in CNN on April 5, 2016 by icn2

In the 1990s and 2000s there was always one network you could count on for news that occurred beyond our borders that didn’t include the Middle East or extremism. That network was CNN.

But CNN is a cable news network and cable news networks have become obsessed with US politics as a ratings driver. It’s gotten worse with each successive election since the Florida recount. 2004 was worse than 2000. 2008 was worse than 2004. 2012 was worse than 2008.

So far the 2016 election cycle has been magnitudes worse than anything that has come before in terms of how ridiculous the nets have become in their political coverage. The networks will now cover any piece of useless minutiae if its political. There’s little actual news that has come out of the succession of debates or town halls.

It’s mostly about entertainment. It’s about hyping the politics with countdown clocks being plastered constantly as they count down to events days in advance. It’s about showing video boxes in the lower right corner of the screen showing so and so candidate at such and such an event…and event the nets aren’t actually covering with sound. It’s about hiring armies of pundits with little substantive to say other than talk about who is doing what in the horse race.

This does little to inform the voter. You get probing questions that rarely generate anything other than non-answers or benign boiler plate answers. What you get is the spectacle…to titillate or inflame the viewer and keep them tuned in.

I cannot really fault either MSNBC or FNC. They never had reputations as global news operations covering the world. They were chiefly local (US bound) operations with target bureaus in a few select locations of the world who would send US talent overseas en masse for certain specific events.

But CNN was different. It was a global operation. It still is largely a global operation. But it is two operations; the domestic and the international editions. Over the past 10 years those operations have been increasingly separate in their coverage with CNN US sticking to US politics and certain world issues, mostly national security related or with a Middle East focus. But even then, when big news happened in the world, CNN US could still be counted on to cover it. Not this year.

This year is different. In its drive to gin ratings on the back of the 2016 election, CNN US has abdicated its role of bringing the big (non-Middle East, non-terrorism related) news of the world, particularly of a humanitarian nature, to US audiences.

It started with Cyclone Winston pulverizing Fiji. It was the worst natural disaster to ever hit the nation, leaving tens of thousands homeless. Months later Winston’s after effects still cripple the nation.

But where was CNN? CNN sent an army over to cover Paris and then Belgium. How many did it send to Fiji? One? Two? None? And for how long? A week? Less?

2016 has seen one of the worst El Ninos in a generation hit the Pacific. While CNN US has covered it occasionally in between its near nonstop politics coverage it has been almost entirely from the impact it was having on America.

Did you know that this El Nino has unleashed one of the worst if not the worst ever incidents of coral bleaching to impact the fragile Pacific reef system? The Great Barrier reef is being rapidly killed off. Fiji is having its own die off. And the damage is also killing off reefs in Indonesia as well. Those reefs feed the smaller fish who feed the larger fish or feed the apex predator fish and we feed off all of them. Regardless of the cause, it’s a cataclysmic event that will take a decade to recover from. If it can recover.

And where is CNN? It’s in Wisconsin. It’s ginning up more newsless debates, town halls, and political exclusives to entertain its audience.

But this El Nino isn’t just killing reefs which puts pressure on the world’s seafood supply and will exacerbate tensions in the South China Sea as countries go further out to fish for less and less. This El Nino has unleashed worst ever drought conditions in the central Pacific where islands used to having some level of rain most of the year have hardly seen any in months.

How bad is it? It’s so bad some of the island nations in Micronesia and the Marshall islands are in danger of running out of water. Palau, which is not officially part of Micronesia, has drought conditions so bad it’s literally in danger of running out of water in a matter of weeks.

Ponder that for a moment. A nation of tens of thousands with no tap water. None. Zero.

And where is CNN? Has it bothered to send anyone to cover this?

CNN US has lost its way. It is so addicted to the ratings politics provides that major news stories that impact the world have fallen to the wayside with either scant or no mention at all. It would not surprise me if CNN viewers were asked about any of these stories whether they could even say that they knew about these stories from watching the network. These were stories the network in years past would have covered. Not this year.

To quote a presidential candidate’s famous phrase…CNN, you’re fired!

Shots Fired…

Posted in CNN, FNC on April 1, 2016 by icn2

The AP’s David Bauder writes up some of the things Megyn Kelly says in an interview with Charlie Rose to air Sunday Morning on CBS.

Kelly takes another (more than deserved) shot at O’Reilly but expands her reach to include CNN…

“There should have been a moment of solidarity among journalists that night to say, ‘We will not allow ourselves to be bullied by a presidential front runner, even one as powerful and as ahead in the polls at that point as Trump was,'” Kelly said. “‘This is about journalism and the First Amendment, and we will put the debate moderator out on the stage that we think is appropriate.’ And I think it’s a slippery slope when we don’t stand shoulder to shoulder in those moments.”

CNN declined to comment on her remarks.

I’ll bet. This is, after all, the same network that couldn’t say no to the RNC after it emerged that other networks were trying to get the NBC debate.


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