Sunday, June 18, 2023

CNN Blues

 From American Greatness:

CNN became a success in the 1980s and ’90s because it established the 24-hour news cycle, but that model has been copied endlessly and is no longer cutting edge. Besides, internet pages allow readers to access news anytime, all the time. Finally, social media and the advent of the smartphone allowed average citizens to provide cheaper and more abundant news content than a professional news crew.In recent years, perhaps in contending with those industry headwinds, CNN and its top executives and personalities have embarked on ever more cynical and risky initiatives in their quests to remain relevant.

CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, hired Jeff Zucker in 2013 to fill the vacant CEO position. Unlike his predecessors, Zucker came from the entertainment side of TV through NBC Universal, where he had spent a tumultuous period as CEO in the late 2000s, during which the broadcast network suffered major turmoil, including a feud between late-night talk show hosts Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno. The debacle over time slots resulted in Zucker getting fired, and O’Brien ditching NBC for TBS. It is considered one of the most disastrous TV programming decisions of all time.

Zucker was brought in to help CNN forestall a decline in its viewership, and he took several crucial measures to do so, including canceling “Piers Morgan Tonight” in 2014 after the British interviewer had failed to fill the shoes of the legendary Larry King.

CNN also benefited from events like the Ferguson riots and the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in order to leap ahead of MSNBC in the cable news rankings. What saved CNN in the short term, however, was the 2016 election and rise of Donald Trump. In May 2016, as the primary elections were all but over, the three major cable news networks were so fixated on the viewership of Trump rallies that they remained riveted to coverage of the empty podium before the Republican candidate took the stage. But when Trump won in November of that year, the network’s shameless opportunism for Trump viewers soon became an open vendetta as Zucker steered the network’s coverage into 24/7 coverage of the president, including airing of numerous rumors and innuendos.

As John Nolte of Breitbart wrote in his much harsher post-mortem on CNN, Zucker “woke raped CNN into a national joke.”

While Licht’s tenure with CNN has been roiled with turmoil, from his axing of the CNN+ streaming service to the firing of network personalities like Brian Stelter and Don Lemon, the issues were centered on his management decisions and style, as opposed to personal and professional misconduct, as was the case with Zucker. (Read more.)

No comments: