Ross Douthat's Imaginary CNN Should Feature People 'From the Right and Left' Debating News Topics

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There's the real CNN we all hate, which is nothing but a bunch of political consultant hacks sitting at tables reading talking pointsright off their laptop screens while Wolf Blitzer staggers around yelling nonsense. And then there's the imaginary CNN available exclusively within Ross Douthat's skull, a network broadcasting only Hard News programming. To Ross, the important new columnist at the New York Times who recently created such comical thought experiments as "Why didn't Holocaust Jews invent the Hobbit?" and "How guilty are hippies for making priests rape children forever?", CNN is struggling in the ratings because of all this serious news journalism. What the network needs, Ross suggests, is a bunch of idiots debating each other. Which is what CNN is today, right now. GAH!


What might work, instead, is a cable news network devoted to actual debate. For all the red-faced shouting, debate isn’t really what you get on Fox and MSNBC. Hannity has ditched Colmes, and conservatives are only invited on Rachel Maddow’s show when they have something nasty to say about Republicans. There’s room, it would seem, for a network where representatives from the right and left can both feel comfortable, and compete on roughly equal terms.

Yeah, uh, you mean LIKE CNN RIGHT NOW JESUS FUCKING CHRIST CAN YOU AT LEAST TURN OFF LORD OF THE RINGS AND TURN ON THE FUCKING CHANNEL YOU'RE WRITING ABOUT, FOR A MINUTE?

CNN does poorly in the ratings right now -- which is unsurprising, because it's crap even compared to the very low standards of cable news in 2010. It's a horrible, endless bullshit "debate" between "both sides" with no actual news. Because it's exactly what Ross Douthat bravely suggests it should become, in the future.

Your editors had a discussion about the terribleness of the "Cable News Network" on Friday, and it seems fitting to publish it here today, because god knows it looks like lucid media criticism compared to Ross Douthat's dingbat column.

* Jim N.

* okay I am posting this very rambling erickson post

* Ken L.

* yes that is rambling insanity

* Ken L.

* YOU ARE WORSE THAN OBAMA

* Jim N.

* haha I am proud of it

* Ken L.

* how many days until cnn fires him?

* Ken L.

* the pressure is pretty solid

* Jim N.

* I think you mean *promote* him

* Ken L.

* nah they are in DIRE STRAITS

* Ken L.

* and wingnuts are NOT watching the fucking john king show, i can promise you that

* Jim N.

* They're such a lame network

* Ken L.

* cnn is just a fail at this point, should just make it all HLN, nancy grace, both channels

* Jim N.

* everything, everything, EVERYTHING revolves around splitting the difference and having political consultants pretend to debate on equal terms.

* Ken L.

* or whatever, cut all the budget, fire everyone, run a bbc feed

* Ken L.

* yeah it is maddening

* Ken L.

* and serves no-one

* Jim N.

* and it lets them be so easily used

* Ken L.

* except! no-one is watching, so ...

* Ken L.

* that is some major fucking brand erosion there

* Jim N.

* like when eric cantor says "oh some bullet went off somewhere around me too," he knew that CNN would have a panel that night urging republicans and democrats to stop being mean, which they were doing equally.

* Ken L.

* i used to come home in the mid-1990s, put the teevee on cnn, and turn it off (maybe) when i went to bed

* Ken L.

* i turned it down to play music, but it was still on

* Ken L.

* and on the screen pretty much all the time was NEWS, from around the world.

* Ken L.

* it was awesome

* Jim N.

* I will put it on for like 10 minutes sometimes when I am eating dinner... as annoying and lame as they are, it is much more relaxing than the others

* Jim N.

* and wolf blitzer is funny.

* Ken L.

* ugh i cannot, even when i turn on the tv for 10 minutes in the a.m. or just before i turn off the computer for the night to make sure nothing got bombed, i will generally skip cnn

* Ken L.

* bloomberg has actual news around the clock, that's about it

* Ken L.

* it's biz news but if real shit is going down, they're on that too

* Jim N.

* yeah that is my only reason, make sure nothing got bombed or see when the house is voting on some bill

* Jim N.

* cnn is in HD though. what i'm saying is that I watch it because it looks the prettiest.

* Ken L.

* cnn is so fucking inane, it's as if it's from some country / dimension even WORSE than this one

* Ken L.

* i do not have your fancy yuppie hd flat screen

* Ken L.

* i have this

It's like a time machine.

* Jim N.

* there was a great daily show segment a few months ago showing dozens and dozens of instances of the same thing on CNN, where JUST as guests are bringing up the meaty or controversial or newsworthy parts of their topic, wolf or anderson cooper or whatever ALWAYS cuts them off to say, "well, it's an interesting debate, we'll have to cut you off there"

* Jim N.

* it's part of their business model to make sure that no one ever WINS a debate, with facts, because then what would they put on teevee?

* Ken L.

* it is such a bizarre idea

* Ken L.

* and it's their whole programming now, at least prime time i guess

* Ken L.

* people sitting around tables barking out talking points OFF THEIR LAPTOP SCREENS

* Ken L.

* does fox do that? msnbc? in some alternate world, is this a successful form of programming?

* Jim N.

* fox and msnbc just make sure the conservative/liberal side wins every debate. they're terrible. at least they don't strain so hard with EVERYTHING to make it appear balanced, though.

So, Ross Douthat just wants CNN to keep doing exactly what they're doing, but he would also like them to add some Glenn Beck. He is such a good op-ed columnist, it's awesome to have him in the New York Times. [NYT]

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