CNN Annoying Me With Their "Personality"-Mongering

From time to time I had used cnn.com as a fairly generic default straight-news site, thinking (all biases against the MSM aside) it would be a fairly accurate barometer for what most people thought were, hierarchically, the most important news stories of the day. Yes, there would be the inevitable skewings toward panics du jour (flus, sharks, whatever), the inevitable that’s-not-really-news (people are shopping the day after Thanksgiving? Duly noted in one column inch, you need to move on), the inevitable potential ideologically-driven stories (so, this Obama fella, he is chocolate-skin man? Cool, let’s stop talking about it). But, it would approximate “news.” Right?

Am I alone in thinking I can, as of about the last six months, no longer trust it to do even that? Increasingly, stories and even lead stories on cnn.com seem to be geared as much toward showcasing their latest anchor-drone as an authority on some theme/meme/topic as to telliing me what’s going on.

See, e.g.:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/08/sotu.la.homeless/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Note that the first word in the headline has nothing to do with any event taking place, now, in the world. Note too that I am aware that there is a recession, and that I could have inferred it was making poor people confront hard realities.

They have really ramped this trend up pretty recently. Perhaps they are being led by the television version? Certainly I spend a lot of the little time I spend watching CNN watching Nancy Grace, or Anderson Cooper, or Sanjay Gupta, or the black guy or the Mexican guy (sorry, but that’s the only way I remember them, largely because that’s how they are branded/presented).

I am not hitting cnn.com to watch you brand your latest “personality.” And I resent it when you prominently place stories that aren’t, minus the “personality/shtick” angle, prominent by any objective measure of newsworthiness. Giving in to the popular demand of the moment, I will concede that is some attractive white chick went missing yesterday, people might want to hear about it.

But leading with “Woman left house, never seen again” when it is just another Nancy Grace rehash of some 2003 white trash disappearance where the girl is clearly either dead or living in some alternative trailer park under a fake name, but where the one thing is clear is that there is no urgency at all to the topic – that wastes my “news” time.

Am I the only one who’s noticed this and if not – suggest a good alterna default source for (at least attempted) just the facts ma’am “news.”

This, on CNN and other networks, annoys me to no end. On one of our local stations, we get an “editorial” comment by some old guy who’s apparently been working there since they were wood-fired - he never has anything significant to share - it’s all about him. I expect that happens all over the place. And frankly, I don’t like it.

I want to get the news, without editorializing, without sensationalizing, without misleading teasers. Is that too much to ask? I’m guessing it must be, since the whole personality thing appears to be taking over. Even on some programs on NPR, certain interviewers ask extremely wordy, leading questions, as if they’re enjoying the sound of their own voice or they’re trying to force a particular soundbite.

Just tell me what’s going on. You don’t need to make me cry or gasp or rise up in indignation. Just report.

This is an interesting conundrum. I keep hearing that newspapers and evening newscasts are dying because people can get there news on the Web whenever they want. And I keep hearing that Web providers can’t charge for their content because people will just go somewhere else.

So what’s a news organization supposed to do? If you’re CNN you brand your news by associating it with personalities. You can only get Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, Rick Sanchez, etc. etc. on CNN (or cnn.com) so by golly let’s shove that down everyone’s throat so they don’t end up just hitting Google news and going on.

You know, I used to be embarrassed that I got my news from Comedy Central’s “Daily show”.

I don’t think I am any more.

They are usually the best indicator of what I should be pissed off about.

I usually avoid watching mainstream news sources or local affiliates because of that reason, I don’t want to be dramatized to, I just want to know what is going on.

I’m with the OP, except that I gave up on CNN about a year ago. For the same reasons, plus the stupid “get ____ on a T-shirt” and I-Report nonsense.

I now go mostly with aggregators like news.google.com or news.yahoo.com. They have some problems (Google sometimes shows editorials as “news”), but overall a better approach.

I also occasionally use Reuters.

ETA: I absolutely no longer watch CNN the TV news channel. I’m guessing their target demographic is bored housewives, but they’ve long since lost me. And while I though Blitzer was a good field correspondent, he’s a terrible studio person, and getting worse.