Here’s how CNN could improve its ratings — but probably won’t

On several occasions in recent years, I’ve mocked the pinheads who run CNN for their pathetic efforts to reverse the declining fortunes of the once-proud granddaddy of cable news outfits.

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.

Well, here’s an idea that can’t miss, if I say so myself. It would provide the same kind of right-left balance that CNN so desperately covets, and it wouldn’t cost much. I’ve even come up with a name for it: The CNN Nightly Debate.

Here’s the plan: A pair of partisans on opposite sides of a given issue offer arguments of three minutes each with a commercial break between each six-minute round. Interruptions are not allowed, and a host serves only to introduce the participants — but not to stick his or her nose into the debate.

In a 60-minute format (with the same participants for the whole hour), there could be at least six rounds of exchanges, leaving plenty of time for commercials, introductions, etc.

The novelty of talking heads not shouting each other down and not being interrupted by a host would have great appeal to viewers across the ideological spectrum.  And in many cases, such debates would engender reaction in the mainstream media and the conservative and liberal blogospheres.

The format, not the host, would be the star of the show. And the idea will have cost CNN nothing.




  1. expdoc

    That is a great idea.

    I do watch Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta now, but your idea is awesome.

  2. Neftali

    Agreed. I love this idea.

  3. Carol Foster

    I’m a CNN watcher and like their format as is, but can see your idea being a good one when it comes to change.
    Never will forget Anderson Cooper in New Orleans and how his reporting really showed the true devestation of a city cut off after a natural disaster in human terms.
    Sanjay Cupta brings home medical needs that keeps you watching and remembering his shows.
    Obvious on the right or left news media isn’t the news!

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