22 September 2008

When Did CNN Get So Awful?

When CNN started out as a network, I watched it a lot. It, like Daily Kos and Drudge Report on the Internet, made its name by scooping everyone else on basic factual, authoritative news coverage.

Since then I have spent more than a decade without cable TV or satellite TV, so my only contact with CNN has been via its website reading stories that I have sought out. But, I spent many hours this past weekend in airports, mostly airports where CNN was playing on the ubiquitous video screens.

The station is now all Presidential race, all the time. And, every issue is debated by bipartisan panels of so called experts who act like and are treated like craven proxies for the Presidential candidate of their choice. CNN has utterly abdicated any notion that there could be factually correct answers to anything, or that it is possible to conduct a discussion of current events, in a non-partisan way, or even at any tone less intense than just short of shouting.

Simply put, the whole network has become unbearable. Have I just had my head in the sand which has allowed me to overlook a fundamental change in our political culture, or has CNN simply lost its self-respect, or both?

No wonder internet analysis of current events, which is time, thoughtful and civil by comparsion, has thrived.


Michael Malak said...

Even Wikipedia has the answer -- the "watershed event" for CNN was the Persian Gulf War. Glorifying death as a videogame turned CNN from a small cable operation into a propaganda arm for the U.S. establishment.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

I actually thought the Persian Gulf War coverage was pretty good. It was on the scene, where no one else was, covering the facts. Now, in contrast, it is focused far less on the facts.

In the same way, MTV no longer plays videos, which also makes absolutely no sense.

Steve Balboni said...

I couldn't tell you exactly when it turned quite so wretched but it's been awful for some time. CNN and MASNBC are essentially unwatchable for me and have been for a few years at least.

I keep the cable for sports, the History Channel and to watch "Weeds."

Anonymous said...

I wish I understood German as occasionally in channel surfing our basic cable hookup I come across a discussion on Deutsche Welt (ch. 22?).

The participants seem unusually calm, reasoned, and civil by American standards -- almost tranquilized.

I wish we had this kind of discussion here -- but we have been amp'd up so much that all we get are point/counterpoint verbal wrestling matches.

Cable = circuses; fast food = bread.