A couple of years ago, I blasted away at CNN with all the snarkiness I could muster:
Is there anything more pathetic than watching CNN, the once-proud pioneer of cable news, flail about in efforts to reverse its declining fortunes?
I can understand that CNN wants to be something different from its decidedly partisan rivals, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. But it apparently just doesn’t know how to do it.
CNN seems to think that the answer is to provide some kind of right-left balance by featuring talking heads from across the political spectrum. Most of their choices in that effort are awful. Erick Erickson is an idiot. David Gergen is a bore. So is Donna Brazile.
On special occasions — on election nights or after presidential debates, for example — CNN feels a need to overwhelm us with the size of its political panels. Sometimes, they have so many people on board that it takes two tiers to seat them all. The gimmick only makes the second tier look second-rate, something like the little kids’ table at a big family dinner.
And then there’s CNN’s annoying penchant for branding everything. We’re keeping them honest. The best political team on television. The most trusted name in news. Etc., etc., ad nauseum. It’s mostly sizzle and very little steak.
The network also is ill-served by all the phony posturing of its on-air personalities. Do they still have Wolf Blitzer holding a pen and paper on “The Situation Room,” as if he’s a working reporter ready to leap into action? Frankly, I don’t know. I can’t bear to watch that crap anymore.
And don’t get me started on Anderson Cooper. Whatever good work he does is more than offset by his endless spouting of the branding themes and his pseudo-personal involvement in the stories he covers.
So, I experienced a sense of both deja vu and justification last night when I saw political satirist Jon Stewart SKEWER CNN in a few of the same terms I had used, most notably its ridiculous inclination to brand everything:
Jon Stewart targeted CNN on his show Tuesday night, mocking their segments within segments (“Political Pop,” “R&R,” and so on). “Why?” he asked, noting that often their branded news segments, er, don’t actually apply that well to the stories within them.
“I’m not against news organizations having fun,” Stewart said, but went on to note some segments that were mistakenly labeled — or just simply a bad idea.
UPDATE: There’s more on this HERE.