Another dumb move by CNN

Why would anyone at CNN think it was a good idea to give a prime-time talk show to former New York governor Eliot Spitzer and Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker? There is only one reason anyone thinks Spitzer will be a ratings winner, and it’s not his non-existent journalism background or even his sharp analytical mind.

I’m not going to rehash what I’ve said before about CNN; you can read it here if you like.

Briefly, though, CNN touts itself as a profitable, news-driven alternative to the ideological talk shows on Fox and MSNBC. So why act as though your every programming decision is based on ratings? If CNN is truly in a different business from Fox and MSNBC, then what does it mean to say CNN comes in “third”?

Given that there is almost no way CNN can have an impact at 8 p.m. against the O’Reilly-Olbermann juggernaut, Jon Klein and company should have tried something radical. Like news. How about an hour of CNN International, which everyone who has traveled overseas tells me is exponentially better than what’s on the three U.S. cable nets?

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.