I don’t watch CNN anymore. I can’t.
I try sometimes. I flip channels to get a sense of what’s on regular old television (which I barely watch anymore either). I check CTV News to see if Rob Ford fell down today, I swing by History Television to see if there’s any history-related programming on (there never is). Then I stop on CNN and wait to hear some bit of news, some headline that might grab my attention or inform me as to what’s going on in the world. About thirty seconds later, I turn the channel is disgust and acute irritation. CNN doesn’t do news anymore. Journalism? Reporting? Investigation? Please! That’s so 20th Century. This is the age of infotainment. And CNN, always on the cutting edge, has taken the next logical step past infotainment, refining it to the point that it no long contains any trace elements of information or entertainment. The only possible way CNN could be less insightful is to broadcast a test pattern 24 hours a day. And that might actually be a step up. At least a test pattern informs you that your television is on and working. CNN, as it now stands, can’t even assure me of that.
As an experiment, for the first time in a very long while, I made an effort to watch an entire hour of unabridged, uninterrupted, un-channel-surfed CNN, and see what it had to offer. I wanted to give it every chance to prove that my random 30-second samplings were merely ill-timed, and that if I put the time in I would be treated to some proper news, researched by proper journalists.
I sat down a few days ago, in the late afternoon, and this is what I learned watching sixty full minutes of headline news on CNN. I’m not leaving anything out. This was every story covered.
1. The Duck Dynasty douchebag said some more stupid shit. This was the “political lead.”
2. Netflix is adding 26 movie titles to their roster, including Good Burger (no mention of the many other titles they’re dropping, including a great many classics).
3. A fired NFL player is having issues with his ex-coach over homophobic remarks.
4. A lottery winner just remembered he had a winning ticket lying around somewhere.
5. It’s cold and snowy out. Bad weather in winter? Stop the presses!
6. It’s so cold, you might not want to sit out in a sports stadium. Because, brrrr!
7. The new, improved pope is packing in tourists at the Vatican.
8. Clay Aiken might go into politics. Maybe.
9. Car sales are up (no mention that this might be because even potted plants and single-celled organisms are being offered car loans these days).
And although it was only a promo, this was probably the most compelling bit of information offered:
10. CNN will be running March of the Penguins in prime time – which should offer them a 90-minute break from running more non-news the evening it airs.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Fukushima is in the process of becoming the single greatest disaster in human history (and will continue to be a globally damaging disaster for the next ten thousand years or so). The world economy is poised to collapse like a house of cards in a hurricane. The United States has descended into a war-mongering police state, with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights currently in flames. Japan and China are considering going to war over a few pimple-sized islands that happen to have oil. Saudi Arabia has been trying to provoke more war in the Middle East because you can never have enough. And all those depleted uranium shells the U.S. shot at everyone throughout the last couple of Middle-Eastern wars are causing horrific birth defects and promise to be radioactive for millions of years longer than Fukushima could ever dream of.
Of course CNN won’t cover these stories because there’s no sexy car-chase video to go with them, no celebrities twerking and, let’s face it, as news stories they’re all kinda bummers. Depressing news doesn’t get good ratings and, believe me, if there’s one thing CNN knows plenty about, it’s bad ratings.
I had high hopes for CNN just a few short years ago. It seemed like they were taking some of the criticism to heart. They dumped Rick Sanchez for being a moron, Lou Dobbs for being an asshole, and cancelled Crossfire for being terrible. Unfortunately, the purge didn’t end there, and they also unloaded every investigative journalist they ever worked with, including real deals like Michael Ware and Amber Lyon, as well as all the behind-the-scenes staff that did petty busywork – like fact checking and research. You know, boring crap.
Oh, but they made sure to retain the big names that best define what CNN is all about. Familiar faces like Wolf Blitzer, owner of the great American beard that grows out of his slack jaw, Anderson Cooper, the silver-haired silver-spooned rich kid who grew up interning with the CIA (no conflict of interest there, and we assure you he is no longer a CIA asset in any way shape or form) and, of course, Richard Quest – a guy so classy, he got busted in Central Park for trying to be a pickup artist with a rope tied around his neck and cock, armed with a sex toy and a pocket full of crystal meth. Really, that happened. But you wouldn’t know it if you get your news from CNN. Surprisingly, they didn’t cover it.
CNN, you never cease to disappoint. At least Jon Stewart managed to get rid of Crossfire after that notorious interview where he successfully articulated what a vulgar sham the whole pseudo-debate show was. He buried that piece of crap good and deep…
Wait, what? Oh, I see. Crossfire is back on the air, with a whole new cast of idiots, worse than ever.