Politics isn't a sport and CNN isn't really journalism

Photo credit: hyku via Visualhunt / CC BY
In the FAQ for this site, I mentioned that CNN and the other American cable news networks were deliberately not included on this site. This video from Vox helps to explain why. In the early days of CNN, it was a decent source of news and information. They did a pretty good job, for example, of covering the first Gulf War. Their standards slipped however, as they realized that it was difficult to keep viewers for a 24 hour news channel. Then, OJ Simpson seemed to show them the way.

A double murder in Los Angeles normally wouldn’t rate more than a few minutes of coverage, but the fact that the accused was a celebrity generated enough interest that CNN gave it round the clock, gavel to gavel coverage. When court wasn’t in session they had interviews with anyone even remotely connected to the case, or OJ Simpson or just anyone with a law degree and an opinion. It generated tremendous revenue and cost almost no money to produce.

Since that time, CNN has declined rapidly into an infotainment channel; reality TV masquerading as news. The network made this approach official in 2013 when they brought Jeff Zucker in to lead them. Although he did have some background in journalism, Zucker was best known for his work with NBC's entertainment division. Among other things, Zucker signed Donald Trump to head the Apprentice. His division also produced shows like 'Fear Factor' and scripted shows like Friends and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

It is not, as the Trump administration suggested, that CNN is 'fake news'. It is not that they present facts which aren't true. However, the drive to generate entertaining television and ratings is much greater than the drive to produce quality journalism and create an informed public.

Source: Vubblepop

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