I'm worried about CNN

(This is probably not pit-worthy, but it’s Trump-related)

I’m not a steady regular viewer of CNN – I get most of my news from NPR and PBS – but I do check in on it from time to time. (It’s always on in my work location’s break area, for instance.) And what I’ve noticed: it’s All Trump, All The Time. 24 Hours News Trump. And the Trump news is always bad, from a Trumpian point of view.

Let me stipulate: I think what CNN is saying is all 100% true – anything Trump does or says is bad. This differentiates them from Fox, for instance.

But jeezus christ, isn’t there a hurricane that needs covering? Some political news out of the EU? You can’t run a network with nothing but panels bashing Trump all day…can you? What will they do when he’s gone (may God speed that day)? This has got to be tarnishing the brand, as they say.

they started with the All Trump all the time stuff in summer of 2015 when he started running. They put on every speech he made as a candidate.

There are 3 reasons for this: ratings, ratings, ratings. If people stop watching they will change. They admitted he boosts their ratings. People that hate Trump tune in just to see him get bashed or look bad.

Personally, I generally use an aggregator such as Google News as my primary source for national-level stories. I pay some attention to MSNBC, but that’s really just for a convenient summary of Trump’s latest gaffes, as that’s pretty much all they are focused on as well.

How is all-Trump programming playing with CNN viewers in general?

If they are successfully selling advertising time and viewership is remaining steady or growing, then one is likely to see no changes. OTOH, if you don’t like their particular emphasis, there are other (perhaps more even-handed) sources. TV news coverage tends to be inherently shallow, due to time and attention constraints, anyway.

Also, how much of the content CNN presents was originated by them? In other words, how much is re-reporting of stories originated by the (supposedly, according to Trump) failing print media? Just a perception, but it seems that relatively little of the most significant content is originating from networks themselves.

As far as I’m concerned, CNN jumped the shark during the Persian Gulf War. Hasn’t been worth watching since then.

Just like Reggie Jackson used to put fannies in the seats, Dumb Donald puts eyeballs on the screens. Like it or not, they’re covering what will make them the most money.

I find that when I’m pissed off about the day’s events I’ll look in at CNN, watch a panel bashing Trump and predicting his imminent downfall, and feel better. Then I realize that this isn’t journalism, it’s an echo chamber…

if panels on the price of tea in China had better ratings than Trump then we would see tea panels.

CNN used to have real news - so did MSNBC, actually - but when Fox News started beating them in the ratings every hour of the day (plus, it’s really expensive to have actual reporters out there covering real news) they said to hell with it. Going political is a lot cheaper, and seems to pull better ratings.

I’m worried about what happens if Trump suddenly disappears from the political scene. Pence may or may not be as bad as Trump, but he won’t be churning out crap every day for commentators to masticate over.

I forget where I read it (maybe right here) but apparently the current fondness of networks for studio-based panels can be summed up thusly: “Field reporting expensive, studio panels cheap”.

ETA: semi-ninja’d by kunilou.

Actually, I’d wouldn’t mind seeing some evidence for that. Surely all those reporters, experts and pundits who turn up regularly are getting paid something for each appearance.

Chances are Trump won’t suddenly disappear from the political scene. Unless he’s fitted with a jump suit that matches his complexion and they take away his phone, he’ll be pontificating on twitter and the media is going to be eating it up. Also the left is going to be using him as a punching bag long after his political career is dead (much the same way that the right does with Clinton) because he is such an easy target.

I regard CNN and MSNBC like I regard FOX. They’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, howling at the same moon. None of them are worth watching.

There are a few MSNBC shows I watch, because they are well researched and I think historically we are at an important point. I haven’t looked at their NBC news broadcasts recently. They may be better. CNN I don’t bother with. For the most part, I get my news from other sources. I blame this fixation on Trump in the media, at least in part, for his current position.

Imagine a world without CNN. OK, I just did. Not seeing the problem.

It was an innovative idea at the time, but like MTV it has outlived its usefulness. Apparently, people like to hear talking heads scream at each other or rile up the older folks sitting at home. I’ll tune in once in a while, but would not miss it one bit if it were gone.

Roughly half the population is anti Trump, many with a spittle flying intensity. CNN is just playing to their target audience and viewers bring advertising dollars. Fox staked out the other corner. Those that want their echo chambers have them while the rest of us try to find unbiased news where we can.

I do five minutes on CNN in the morning on my scroll to the Accuweather channel. I go to BBC/NPR for actual news catch-ups during the day.

I’m fairly certain that if a giant meteor obliterated the entire U.S. Midwest overnight, CNN would devote a headline crawler at the bottom of the screen to it while their studio panel and anchor analyze Trump’s overnight Tweet calling Sessions a “stupid head.”

I remember ABC kept Howard Cosell on Monday Night FB partly because a lot of fans hated him. They would tune in just to yell at the screen when Cosell was on. As long as ratings are good everything else is secondary.

Is there a market niche for a 24 hour cable news network that’s actually … news? Journalists in the field, drilling down on interesting stories, thoughtful analysis?

Nah, I didn’t think so either.

CNN started out as “healine news” of breaking events, and was first on the ground for some pretty significant developments in the late ‘Eighties and early ‘Nineties. They always had some less than useful aspects like Crossfire, but ever since they discovered the round table talking head format (actually originated by the syndicated The McLaughin Group) they’ve focused on that and pundit-oriented talk shows that are essentially consensus driven with manufactured conflict to attract outrage. Their current infatuation with Trump is hardly surprising but it does illustrate the lack of depth in reporting, particularly on issues outside of mainstream national politics and foreign issues. There is plenty of other issues to report on (see Vox or Vice News for covering a lot of important issues that get little general media attention or alternative viewpoints besides the liberal vs. conservative dichotomy) but nothing seems to draw in the viewing public like stirring a pot of preprocessed outrage.


Occasionally I tune in to the French news just to come back to reality. When I do, I feel like Group Captain Lionel Mandrake in Dr. Strangelove when he finds a still-functioning transistor radio and realizes that General Ripper’s reality is a dangerous hallucination.

Like I’ve said in the past, the news media loves Trump. They love every inch of him. Sure they hate him, but they hate him like wrestling audiences hated the Iron Sheik.