The nation’s first cable news network was ahead of its time when it debuted more than 30 years ago. In the meantime, however, relevant content from competitors such as Fox News has constantly eroded CNN’s stake in the market.
Combined with the blatant partisanship of its personalities and frequent misleading or inaccurate reportage, there is little surprise that Ted Turner’s brainchild is routinely found near the bottom of ratings lists.
As a result, CNN recently announced drastic changes to its format to include more reality programming, documentaries, and other non-news offerings.
Network officials confirmed that the switch would cut into profits, indicating this move is more out of necessity than a genuine desire to eschew hard news coverage.
“These programming investments will put pressure on its margins,” said Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, noting that he expects it will also “bring new advertisers to CNN.”
John Martin, CFO of CNN’s parent company, expressed similar concern, telling investors that the media property’s income stream might remain stagnant for years to come.
With a current lineup of shrill, ideologically driven anchors and commentators, the struggling network can no longer compete with popular personalities found elsewhere on cable. Furthermore, its primary forte – covering breaking news as it happens – has been usurped not only by competing networks but by countless online resources.
Though anchors such as Piers Morgan have provided ample fodder for the conservative blogosphere, CNN’s reputation as a legitimate news source has been tarnished beyond recognition. As too often happens within a leftist-controlled environment, objectivity long ago took a backseat to ideology.
Now, it seems, network executives are being forced to answer for their breach of the public’s trust.
Despite its storied history in America and across the world, CNN proved that being the first is much different than being the best.
–B. Christopher Agee
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