By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

How to fix CNN

Michael Calderone has a long piece in Politico on how to fix CNN, whose ratings have recently gone from bad to worse. As you’ll see, I told Calderone that if it were up to me, I’d bring back Aaron Brown and undo the decision to let Christiane Amanpour jump to ABC.

The worst idea is the one he leads with: bringing back “Crossfire.” Canceling the wretched shoutfest will be the only positive mark on CNN president Jon Klein’s report card when he finally walks the plank, and when I’m finally through mangling my metaphors.

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  1. Glen Bergendahl

    Calderone’s article requires some rewrite.

    The second sentence of the third paragraph should read:

    We asked a dozen or so prominent media watchers, former
    industry executives, former CNN personalities and
    Northeastern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy
    for their recommendations.

  2. Doug Shugarts

    I think FNC’s success is due in part to its synergy with other media (FNC talk radio WSJ Red State et al online) that reach the same audience. CNN seems all alone.

  3. tobe berkovitz

    CNN is a tired brand. “Down the middle” news programing? I don’t think so. It’s positioning is liberal light. MSNBC has the left wing-nut position. There is a role for legit news in prime time but this is expensive. Left vs right yelling sock puppet pundits is cheaper to produce. Obviously the Larry King “Cocoon Pool Scene Show” has expired and the MSMs enthusiasm for Anderson Cooper as the poster boy for contemporary impassioned journalism is not shared by the cable audience.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Tobe: You’ve picked up on something important. CNN claims it’s the news alternative, but it isn’t. It’s just more talk shows, only really bad ones. I briefly saw Dr. Phil pop up on AC360 the other night to talk about the Phoebe Prince case, before I dislocated my back in my haste to change the channel.

  4. Benjamin Rivard-Rapoza

    CNN just gave Dorchester native John King a show at 7:00pm. Looks like it’s worth checking out – John King is probably my favorite political reporter at CNN.

  5. Aaron Read

    To position yourself as the “sane man’s alternative” for news requires that people trust your analysis. Does ANY sane, rational, open-minded person trust ANYONE on television anymore? I would opine that if they do, they probably shouldn’t. Maybe Rachel Maddow, maybe. Even that’s questionable.

    Christ, the only person I “trust” on TV is Jon Stewart and only because he’s very open about how he’s “lying” to me. (in the sense that it’s a fake news show)

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