CNN falls to third place

posted at 1:45 pm on March 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

CNN lost its cable-news-network lead to Fox years ago, but had a firm grip on second place … until now.  CNN’s viewership has remained steady, but MS-NBC has grown its audience considerably, thanks to its partisan direction over the last year.  Neither comes close to knocking off the champ, though:

CNN is poised to finish March third in the prime-time weeknight ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the first time this has ever happened for the channel that pioneered the cable news genre nearly three decades ago.

CNN says its overall business is healthy and it is not straying from its straight news path. But it is suffering more audience erosion than its rivals since the peak days of the presidential election, further proof that the opinionated prime-time shows on Fox and MSNBC have greater audience loyalty.

CNN’s weekday prime-time ratings are relatively flat compared to last year during the primary campaign, up 1 percent from March 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research. Fox’s ratings have jumped 30 percent and MSNBC, the new No. 2, is up 24 percent. The biggest growth in cable news is for CNN’s partner, HLN, formerly Headline News, which is up 62 percent.

Fox remains on a mountain above its two closest competitors, with its prime-time audience in March more than that of MSNBC and CNN combined. “The O’Reilly Factor” has done particularly well, keeping more of its postelection audience than anything else on CNN and MSNBC.

CNN says they will continue to focus on straight news reporting rather than try to compete on the ideological bases of their competitors, but some conservatives will scoff at that notion.  While CNN sets up their shows as straight-arrow reporting and analysis, many have detected subtle and not-so-subtle biases from hosts Anderson Cooper, Larry King, Campbell Brown, and others.  They may not be as explicitly directional as either Fox or MS-NBC, but they have not plowed a down-the-middle approach.

Brown appears most in danger of losing her slot, falling far behind Keith Olbermann, who himself remains far behind Bill O’Reilly.  CNN says they’ll stick with Brown in order to build her audience, but the populist schtick doesn’t seem to be competing with the more well-established populist schtick of her competitors.  Brown will go on maternity leave, which might portend a change, but CNN will replace her with Roland Martin in the interim, who doesn’t have Brown’s charisma.

CNN might consider sticking closer to a straight news approach, and perhaps finally pushing Larry King into retirement.  He’s barely beating Rachel Maddow now as it is, and both are getting clobbered by Sean Hannity’s solo effort.  They’re not going to find ideological space any longer, not with MS-NBC going explicitly liberal. If they really want to provide an alternative, that’s the opening.


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Amen!

After I saw CNN’s on-air voices, for six straight hours, repeat endlessly – although in different words each time – “Iraq is a failure,” “the economy is going from bad to worse,” “the military is evil,” “quagmire with no end in sight,” “the planet is dying,” “Bush lied, kids died,” “economy even worse now after the last hour of news,” etc. – I just couldn’t look at them the same way again.

Ryan Gandy on March 28, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Ted Turner circa 1996: “I’ll squish Murdoch like a bug”

Quotes I imagine:

I made the bathrobe and black slippers “business casual”

After Jane, I had to replace the carpets… Well, you know.

We can air more trash than MSNBC can imagine!

Let’s put Christiane Amanpour on instead of Larry King. He’s dead and doesn’t know it and she can spin anything.

ericdijon on March 28, 2009 at 5:46 PM

MSNBC knows what their idiot viewers want, its more Daily Show-esque snark directed almost entirely at Republicans.

Speedwagon82 on March 28, 2009 at 6:06 PM

They shouldn’t have let Glenn Beck go.. heh.

popularpeoplesfront on March 28, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Go to Newsbusters and read about the latest Olby. Loon is practically calling for Michelle Bachmann’s arrest. Thank God he’s a distant distant second to FoxNews’ lowest rated show.

Marcus on March 28, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Atlanta Media Guy on March 28, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Thanks for the clarification.

Matt Helm on March 28, 2009 at 6:23 PM

They shouldn’t have let Glenn Beck go.. heh.

popularpeoplesfront on March 28, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Shhh… don’t tell them. I think Roland Martin will do just fine ;)

Upstater85 on March 28, 2009 at 6:25 PM

A friend of mine switched to Fox simply because they grew sick and tired of hearing Wolf Blitzer, Andy Cooper, and the rest of them at CNN repeat ad nauseam they are “the Best Political Team on Television.

Your friend has no problem watching the most POWERFUL name in news?

YYZ on March 28, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Senator James Webb (D) of Virginia is bringing up American Prison Reform he wants an over haul he wants to kick nonviolent offenders out and put the violent offenders behind bars. He believes the current system isn’t serving anyone especially the American Taxpayer who is footing the bill to something like 68 Billion Dollars a Year.

http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-fav-senator-james-webb-proposes.html

Dr Evil on March 28, 2009 at 6:42 PM

They should go back to DL Ugly

faraway on March 28, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Can we let this Fox News bias canard just disappear. Aside from Fox & Friends, Your World, Glen Beck, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, most of Greta’s guests, Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, Cashing In, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Report, Huckbee and Hannity’s America, there is no bias on the Fox News Channel.

YYZ on March 28, 2009 at 7:08 PM

Sometimes, it makes ya wonder why they even bother.
Oh yeah, they have a freakin’ political agenda.

TheSitRep on March 28, 2009 at 7:11 PM

CNN was right but only AFTER their wunderkinder Obama was elected. NOW the economy IS going from bad to worse and SOON we WILL be defeated in Iraq (Afghanistan and Mexico and East Asia too.) Thanks CNN( Corrupt News Now).

MaiDee on March 28, 2009 at 7:12 PM

Two comments:

1. CNN should move Kiran Chetry to prime time and have her do the program in a bikini,

2. (More seriously) Hey, CNN, speaking as someone who lives in the great city of Atlanta, did it ever occur to you that since you’re headquartered here maybe some of your damn programming ought to originate here as well? I mean it’s like the only time the program isn’t from NYC is at 9 am Saturday mornings.

radjah shelduck on March 28, 2009 at 7:34 PM

A friend of mine switched to Fox simply because they grew sick and tired of hearing Wolf Blitzer, Andy Cooper, and the rest of them at CNN repeat ad nauseam they are “the Best Political Team on Television.

Your friend has no problem watching the most POWERFUL name in news?

YYZ on March 28, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Doesn’t sound quite as ridiculous when you have the ratings to back it up.

Can we let this Fox News bias canard just disappear. Aside from Fox & Friends, Your World, Glen Beck, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, most of Greta’s guests, Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, Cashing In, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Report, Huckbee and Hannity’s America, there is no bias on the Fox News Channel.

YYZ on March 28, 2009 at 7:08 PM

As opposed to that 24/7 fairness on CNN and MSNBC? NBC? CBS? ABC? NPR? PBS?

ddrintn on March 28, 2009 at 7:47 PM

This news makes me want to do a Tropic Thunder dance, Tom Cruise style.

MrX on March 28, 2009 at 8:51 PM

How can a network with “talent” like Rick Sanches, Jack Cafferty and Campbell Brown possibly fail?

bw222 on March 28, 2009 at 8:51 PM

Maybe CNN should now stand for

Cratering
News
Network

madmonkphotog on March 28, 2009 at 9:13 PM

and MSNBC, the new No. 2, is up 24 percent.

Anyone else find this disturbing?

JeffVader on March 28, 2009 at 9:51 PM

Can we let this Fox News bias canard just disappear. Aside from Fox & Friends, Your World, Glen Beck, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, most of Greta’s guests, Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, Cashing In, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Report, Huckbee and Hannity’s America, there is no bias on the Fox News Channel.

YYZ on March 28, 2009 at 7:08 PM

While the majority of FOX’s hosts lean right or libertarian, the difference is that they actually invite thos eof opposing views and allow them time to express them. Could you please site a few examples of where that occurs on CNN or MSNBC? Thanks!

Red State State of Mind on March 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Jeff – I would, but it’s made mostly of CNN defectors, so it’s not like they’re deepening their pool. They’re simply sucking up the rest of the lefty water.

CNN can only pull viewers from Fox at this point. If they kept Beck and went Libertarian, I would have watched. Instead, they kept him at bay and never promoted his CNN appearances.

They should go deep with Reason Magazine and lightning rods like Hitchens. People that you may not agree with, but are driven by principles. Cafferty and King have to go. They should also make a hard grab for name CNBC talent that wants to get the frak out.

But none of this will happen as long as they’re owned by Time-Warner. A non-left move and they all be shunned by the kewl people.

budfox on March 28, 2009 at 10:05 PM

10 reasons why CNN has fallen to 3rd place:

1)their pundits are so bad that you know what they are going to say before they say it

2)Jack Cafferty is just mean; at least Chrissy Matthews is so ridiculous that he’s hilarious

3)Rick Sanchez’s Twitter just feeds his bias

4)Letting Glenn Beck go to Fox

5)not having true conservatives on as guests

6)Obama worship

7)continuing misrepresenting Sarah Palin

8)Campbell Brown always appears to be on the warpath and insensitive

9)not being fair and balanced

10)you can’t stay on top forever; it was bound to happen sometime

technopeasant on March 28, 2009 at 10:14 PM

So simply out of curiosity, is Fox News part of Teh MSM?

radiofreevillage on March 28, 2009 at 10:22 PM

@ budfox

Cafferty and King have to go. They should also make a hard grab for name CNBC talent that wants to get the frak out.

Agreed. AC360 and DL Huglie shows should go too. CNN should grab “Morning Joe”, Pat Buchannan, and the former Florida Senator, I forget his name..

JeffVader on March 28, 2009 at 10:26 PM

Am I mistaken or is Cambell Brown approaching Candy Crowley size…saw her the other day and thought Wow…push away from the table!

winston on March 28, 2009 at 10:42 PM

So simply out of curiosity, is Fox News part of Teh MSM?

radiofreevillage on March 28, 2009 at 10:22 PM

Probably not, since it’s considered just a conservative Murdoch mouthpiece. The moonbats would hardly call that “mainstream”, eh? More of an “aberration” from fairness, truth and integrity. AKA the leftward “mainstream” slant.

ddrintn on March 28, 2009 at 10:48 PM

OT but say Ed,

How’s that Senate race in your state going? Five month anniversary looming and still no result? Care to repost all those smug comments about this not being Florida in 2000?

I know the Red River is rising and some of your citizens are in peril but do you people actually want to get another Senator in office before the next elections? Franken or Coleman- who the hell cares at this point? You all really blew it with your incompetence. It should be a cautionary tale for the rest of America but it won’t be.

highhopes on March 28, 2009 at 10:49 PM

It should be a cautionary tale for the rest of America but it won’t be.

highhopes on March 28, 2009 at 10:49 PM

Any time an election is close you can count on Democrat apparatchiks to pull a few thousand votes out of their asses.

ddrintn on March 28, 2009 at 10:53 PM

They shouldn’t have let Glenn Beck go.. heh.

popularpeoplesfront on March 28, 2009 at 6:08 PM

…or Bill Hemmer! Bill Hemmer & Megyn Kelly’s American Newsroom – in the 9am slot – beat MSNBC’s primetime 8pm hour!

CNN: I hope they Fail!!!

TN Mom on March 28, 2009 at 10:57 PM

…or Bill Hemmer! Bill Hemmer & Megyn Kelly’s American Newsroom – in the 9am slot – beat MSNBC’s primetime 8pm hour!

TN Mom on March 28, 2009 at 10:57 PM

LOL…now that is pathetic on MSNBC’s part.

ddrintn on March 28, 2009 at 11:02 PM

Straight news? I think not. If they were straight news, they would be number one and there would be no need for opinion based broadcasters.

federale86 on March 28, 2009 at 11:10 PM

Jeff – Scarby would benefit from the move. He’d be the legit conservative. I don’t think Buchanan is going back after the years on Crossfire. They also really need to radically change the format.

Hannity is vulnerable. Especially the second half with that inane roundtable. They’ll never move him just for that reason. Without BillO’ as his lead, he’d be in serious trouble because he’s a broken record as an anchor. He’s much better interacting with an audience which I guess he knows since they’re taking the show on the road.

I CNN does go more opinion, I think Chetry will have a stroke. She wants distance from the viewers. He dream gig is a morning show where she gets to feign over issues with experts, ala Today Show.

budfox on March 28, 2009 at 11:15 PM

Am I mistaken or is Cambell Brown approaching Candy Crowley size…saw her the other day and thought Wow…push away from the table!

winston on March 28, 2009 at 10:42 PM

As much as I hate defending Campbell Brown, she’s prego.

bw222 on March 28, 2009 at 11:23 PM

Budfox -

I agree. The Great American Panel sucks big time.

bw222 on March 28, 2009 at 11:25 PM

The left just can’t stand to watch what they have wrought.

TheSitRep on March 28, 2009 at 11:42 PM

The left just can’t stand to watch what they have wrought.

TheSitRep on March 28, 2009 at 11:42 PM

Well, it’s redundant. How many different ways are there to say that Obama is wonderful and conservatives are mean, nasty and just plain dumb? If you want Democrat talking points, just go to the DNC website.

ddrintn on March 28, 2009 at 11:59 PM

Too bad it didn’t happen while Comrade Turner still owned it.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 29, 2009 at 12:37 AM

CNN? Their drop is no surprise to me. They earned it.

Travis1 on March 29, 2009 at 12:50 AM

While the majority of FOX’s hosts lean right or libertarian, the difference is that they actually invite thos eof opposing views and allow them time to express them. Could you please site a few examples of where that occurs on CNN or MSNBC? Thanks!

I don’t feel like defending any of the cable networks, but have you actually watched CNN or MSNBC? CNN has conservatives on all the time – all their pundit panels are – if not balanced – at least have someone giving a right wing viewpoint. And MSNBC, outside of Olbermann and Maddow, usually have conservatives. Granted, it’s usually the same conservative (Pat Buchanan), but they do have them, particularly on Morning Joe [Scarborough] and Hardball.

Fox News, on the other hand, always puts on the likes of Dick Morris, Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich without another guest. Has Glen Beck ever hosted a lefty? How about a one-on-one interview with a liberal on Hannity?

That’s fine of course, and clearly, it’s a successful ratings strategy, but you’re more likely to see a conservative on CNN or MSNBC than you are a liberal on Fox News.

YYZ on March 29, 2009 at 2:09 AM

So does this mean conservatives are by-in-large lazy couch potatoes who watch TV they can only agree with? Doesn’t that make them close-minded?

PresidenToor on March 29, 2009 at 2:52 AM

So does this mean conservatives are by-in-large lazy couch potatoes who watch TV they can only agree with? Doesn’t that make them close-minded?

PresidenToor on March 29, 2009 at 2:52 AM

No. It means, unlike liberals, conservatives have jobs and can’t watch daytime television like the View and Oprah.

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 6:44 AM

I think they should have the Atlanta tea party on April 15th IN FRONT of CNN (instead of the capitol building) and FOX can cover it!! :’)

DanaSmiles on March 29, 2009 at 6:46 AM

It just shows that this country is bi-polar.

such opposites in 1st and 2nd.

Get guns and ammo- countrymen, they idiots watching msnbc are going to come for us.

Mercy4Me on March 29, 2009 at 6:59 AM

A couple of years ago I went to a Glenn Beck insider convention in NYC and took the CNN tour of his Headline News set. Glenn explained much of the detail that went into its planning, right down into the weeds of lighting color temperature, etc. The guy really thinks stuff through (sometimes). Recently, he described his new set at Fox as being out of “Tron” –but one thing he has continued with is keeping the argumentative talking head format to a minimum. (A bit more now, but hey, it’s Fox)

I used to watch H&C a lot, but got turned off by guests side-stepping questions so they could unload a fresh batch of talking points, trying to float them or just put the other side on defensive.

Beck has 20-25% less available audience at 5pm and is clobbering everybody but O’Reilly and Hannity. I would be happy if he went to 7pm. Shep must be on sulk-a-cide watch.

AE on March 29, 2009 at 8:25 AM

CNN is the John McCain of networks…liberals who pretend they’re centrists.

And like McCain. CNN gets clobbered at the polls, since liberals have an even more liberal option and conservatives don’t buy the bullshit and stay home.

angryed on March 29, 2009 at 8:42 AM

No. It means, unlike liberals, conservatives have jobs and can’t watch daytime television like the View and Oprah.

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 6:44 AM

Ann Coulter once said the reason talk radio is conservative is because everyone listening in their car is either going to or coming home from a job.

angryed on March 29, 2009 at 8:44 AM

Has Glen Beck ever hosted a lefty? How about a one-on-one interview with a liberal on Hannity?

FOX has had numerous lefties on, just the other night Whoopi Goldberg was on Hannity and O’Reilly has numerous liberal clowns on his show from Ted Turner to Barney Frank.

Nelsen on March 29, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Nelsen on March 29, 2009 at 9:39 AM

And of course there’s Mara Liasson and Juan Williams. A lot of lefties want Williams’ head because he appears on Fox so frequently. Tolerant bunch, aren’t they?

ddrintn on March 29, 2009 at 9:46 AM

I wish we had some GOPer with the guts to hit back. CNN just did a replay of the Michael Steele interveiw and some lefty reporter went on bashing the GOP “thuggery” over Steele’s apology to Rush Limbaugh saying the right wing “thugs” run things and the GOP spokesman sitting there just took it with a grin on his face.

Stupid

William Amos on March 29, 2009 at 10:29 AM

It’s not about how many righties or lefties a channel has on, but why they’re on. FNC got its ugly rep because for years, they had on Dem’s who were the minority opinion in the party and treated them as they were apart of a larger cluster. Zell Miller is the perfect example of a guy who was way out on his own lifted to a much bigger position. Juan held this position until recently, now he’s become the defacto protector of Barry. They even tried to give Alan some teeth at the end, a role now filled by Beckel. As for BillO’, his leftie du jour is Lamont Hill, and he’s a great choice. KP is now playing the moderate Dem role Juan used to fill.

The two new FNC trends are becoming tighter with Politico, and bolstering Prog Repub’s. Megan McCain would find a very friendly home on The Factor alongside Miller and Margaret Hoover. Teaming with Politico was one of the smartest moves for both companies.

As for Conservatives on CNN/MSNBC, it’s the old FNC game but in reverse; find an outlier and promote his position. Scarby, Tucker, Buchanan, Ed Rollins…these guys torched W every opportunity. Now, with Barry, what good are they in these roles? MSNBC need Strawmen to make Matthews and Olby look smart, but CNN doesn’t and shouldn’t…unless they have an agenda, which is why we all stay away.

budfox on March 29, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Nelsen on March 29, 2009 at 9:39 AM

They don’t call Murdoch’s network the Right Wing Pulpit without a good and provable reason.

Then again, CNN and MSNBC don’t make it a point to spam other media conglomerates such as O’Reilly advocates.

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 12:18 PM

They don’t call Murdoch’s network the Right Wing Pulpit without a good and provable reason.

Then again, CNN and MSNBC don’t make it a point to spam other media conglomerates such as O’Reilly advocates.

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Considering their ratings, they should probably do something.

Face it. No one is really interested in your 1910 Wobbly ideology.

ddrintn on March 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Nelsen on March 29, 2009 at 9:39 AM

They won’t let anyone on who could actually shut their hosts up on Murdoch’s networks.

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 12:27 PM

They won’t let anyone on who could actually shut their hosts up on Murdoch’s networks.

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Pfft. Don’t watch it, then. It’s called “choice”. Just join the other 3,000 MSNBC viewers and have all the objectivity you want.

ddrintn on March 29, 2009 at 12:30 PM

If CNN wants to take the top slot they should do the following:

1. Publicly apologize for their political leanings in their stories.

2. Require all employees to agree to a contract requiring them to become politically-agnostic, and swear an oath to remain so. The employee should suspend their voting rights while they are employed as a journalist and they can not participate in any way in any PAC, political function or be a member of any political party.

3. Fire all the employees that refuse to do #2.

4. Return to a straight down the line, “just the facts ma’am” approach to journalism. No analysis. Just reporting on facts based on 3 or more sources.

I personally think all the news channels including FOX totally blow. Not a single one can be trusted for straight facts.

I’d like to see journalism pull itself back from the brink of irrelevancy by creating an independent standards body that oversees quality in unbiased reporting, and certifies reporters to be unbiased, politically-agnostic and competent. Loose the certification, can’t work in news. Something similar to the BAR Association.

cryptojunkie on March 29, 2009 at 12:34 PM

No bail out for CNN!

Urban Infidel on March 29, 2009 at 1:31 PM

Has Glen Beck ever hosted a lefty? How about a one-on-one interview with a liberal on Hannity?

Glenn Beck interviewed the head of the communist party in the US(Sam Webb), and Sean Hannity interviewed Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party.

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM

2. Require all employees to agree to a contract requiring them to become politically-agnostic, and swear an oath to remain so. The employee should suspend their voting rights while they are employed as a journalist and they can not participate in any way in any PAC, political function or be a member of any political party.

In a way, that already happens in the industry. The problem with that is that would be removing freedoms from journalists. In one way, it’d get in the way of doing their job.

By the way, some of the folks from Murdoch’s kind make some good-sized Democrat political contributions.

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM

How many times did they get cut off?

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 1:41 PM

How many times did they get cut off?

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 1:41 PM

As many times as they refused to answer the questions directly, and went off on some other tangent.

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 1:44 PM

They won’t let anyone on who could actually shut their hosts up on Murdoch’s networks.

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Well no duh! Doesn’t that kind of go for everybody? I mean really now, who wants to be pwned on air at their own game, never mind if they lean right or left?

Dark-Star on March 29, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Glenn Beck interviewed the head of the communist party in the US(Sam Webb), and Sean Hannity interviewed Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party.

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM

There’s a guy on my street corner who keeps spouting off about one-world government. Has he been booked yet?

YYZ on March 29, 2009 at 2:04 PM

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM

How many times did they get cut off?

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Are they supposed to agree with them?

There’s a guy on my street corner who keeps spouting off about one-world government. Has he been booked yet?

YYZ on March 29, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Sounds like a good program. That guy can come on right after the global-warming kooks.

ddrintn on March 29, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Way to move the goalposts, Sethstorm. First, you claim Fox never hosts liberals, and then when it is pointed out to you that they do, you want to nitpick how they’re interviewed. The fact is that Fox does engage the Left and has left-leaning pundits on regularly so your original point has been debunked.

I think CNN and crew will most likely head left since that is where their hearts lie anyway. Can’t wait for my next agonizing airport layover in CNN indoctrination land.

And I would add John Roberts’ name to the list of insufferable lefties at CNN.

inmypajamas on March 29, 2009 at 2:11 PM

There’s a guy on my street corner who keeps spouting off about one-world government. Has he been booked yet?

YYZ on March 29, 2009 at 2:04 PM

I have no idea. I don’t do the booking for either show.

mossberg500 on March 29, 2009 at 2:14 PM

In a way, that already happens in the industry.

How so? In no way do I see it currently. I see everyone in journalism giving impartiality lip-service.

The problem with that is that would be removing freedoms from journalists.

What I’m talking about is living the life of extreme impartiality in order to become a true journalist. Of course, most people would not want to give that up in order to pursue a career.

In one way, it’d get in the way of doing their job.

I disagree completely. If someone was to assume a position of total impartiality and without any personal political positions at all, it would go a long way to establishing themselves as a true journalist; someone who is a disconnected and impartial observer, investigator and reporter of the facts that does not have any personal political positions.

By the way, some of the folks from Murdoch’s kind make some good-sized Democrat political contributions.

sethstorm on March 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Exactly my point of why there needs to be an independent standards body that enforces apolitical positions.

“How would it be enforced?”, you may ask. By the market. If you have an organization that refuses to adhere to the standard, they don’t get the certifying body’s stamp of approval.

meh, all this typing is for naught. No one in that industry in the truth anymore.

John Stossel is the only one that comes to mind that is the closest to what I’m talking about. (And he is far from perfect of course.)

cryptojunkie on March 29, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Proof that America just doesn’t want to be lied to. And how embarrasing for communist news nuts to be beat out by a radical college channel(messnews).

oakpack on March 29, 2009 at 4:54 PM

I just wanted to jump in and say that I think terryann’s analysis earlier in this thread is exactly how I see the situation. The MORE partisan the host is perceived I believe the BETTER the show does. I disagree that if CNN were even to theoretically reach the promised land of actual and perceived neutrality that it would be a success. The audience appears to want to watch the partisans and to watch arguments/opinion/analysis. If someone created a dry newswire type show that just reported fact without the partisan opinion I think it would fail.
__
Since Fox is killing everyone in the ratings by such a large margin I look at their numbers separately. From that you see that the more partisan and opinion driven shows (O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck) are the top with the less opinion driven partisan shows faring worse (Greta, Smith, Baier). In the race between MSNBC and CNN the more partisan shows, Olbermann, Maddow are beating the less opinion driven shows. And one of the worst ratings-wise? Brown, a show, irrespective of how it actually is, is a show sold as a straight news show, with an attempt (completely successful or not) as a straight news show. Of note, a HLN show this doing gangbusters? Nancy Bloody Grace, who is about as firebrand as it gets. She might be borderline nuts, but she gets the ratings.
_
I don’t think it is a matter of people looking at a show and seeing it fail to present a neutral viewpoint in some subtle way and changing the channel. I think that people want to watch shows that reflect certain viewpoints and, if given the choice, would rather watch an on air fight, than someone dryly describing the facts about what happened earlier that day.
_
It’s sad but to be successful as a TV news show host the ratings suggest that reality requires you to be hyperpartisan, opinionated, egotistical etc. etc. Making any attempt at dry news and neutrality will lead to cancellation.
_
P.S. Can someone tell me how the heck to create a blank line between paragraphs?

Ash on March 29, 2009 at 5:28 PM

CNN is terrible. Worse than MSNBC, at least MSNBC is openly liberal.

True_King on March 29, 2009 at 6:16 PM

In case I didn’t make myself clear, I don’t watch CNN, and I don’t think intelligent people watch any of the cable news networks.

DaveS on March 28, 2009 at 2:52 PM

So … which televised news programs DO YOU watch?
Shades of Palin’s, “Which magazines do you read?” question.

DannoJyd on March 29, 2009 at 7:07 PM

More Wolf Blitzer!

Firebird on March 28, 2009 at 1:49 PM

AND more cow bell!

csdeven on March 29, 2009 at 7:10 PM

If only CNN had kept Connie Chung.

Percy_Peabody on March 29, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Ash on March 29, 2009 at 5:28 PM

You forgot Lou Dobbs.

sethstorm on March 30, 2009 at 8:47 AM

Proof that America just doesn’t want to be lied to.

Murdoch’s network and newspaper would say otherwise.

sethstorm on March 30, 2009 at 8:49 AM

I like Lou Dobbs on CNN, he is an original voice. Larry King bores me and always seems to have fossilized old celebrities on his show and Campbell Brown is a joke with her “No Bias, No Bull” slogan. She questioned Palin’s mothering skills for accepting the VP job and appraches every issue from the left. Other than Wolf Blitzer I can’t think of anyone else who is on that channel. People don’t want the subtle bias, they want either outright bias or heated exchanges.

Keep Dobbs, get rid of King and get rid of Brown. Put in a Hannity and Colmes style format with two charismatic hosts and try to do actual straight news. To compete with the Fox report they should throw in a tabloid journalism show for the 7 o’clock hour. Something similar to the old Inside Edition and Hard Copy shows of the early ’90s.

Someone mentioned they should pull more from their Atlanta roots, I agree with this. Southernize the station a bit, make it something different. If they can actually put out straight news with a Georgian flavor, people may tune in. They should also try and steal Scarborough from MSNBC, he is a straight shooter and one of the few Republicans out there who called out Bush and the then GOP controlled congress on deficit spending and earmarks.

On another note, I have to say that Hannity’s new show is surprisingly entertaining. He recites his usual talking points for the first half hour, but then has a pretty balanced panel for the second half hour and it makes for a fast paced and fun show. I have to admit I am surprised, it is much more enjoyable than his radio show.

Daemonocracy on March 30, 2009 at 5:42 PM

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