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Ed Driscoll

‘In Crisis, CNN Aims to Rethink the Brand’

June 27th, 2012 - 12:39 pm

There’s no doubt that CNN is in deep trouble, but see if you can spot the ideologically-driven faulty assumption as to why in this Politico report on CNN’s ratings woes:

From my report tonight on the state and fate of CNN:

…. While CNN struggles to make 24-hour news compelling, its competitors at Fox News and MSNBC have redefined the industry. They have eschewed traditional, straight-forward newsgathering in favor of partisan, personality driven analysis — a model that is increasingly successful in an era of hyper-partisan politics, but one that CNN has resisted even as its ratings continue their slow and steady decline.

There is now, according to industry experts, a very real possibility that without a coherent strategy, the only nonpartisan network left on cable could become largely irrelevant to the national conversation. [...]

(Also on POLITICO: What’s wrong at CNN)

In interviews with POLITICO, several staffers throughout the organization described CNN as a troubled network suffering from an absence of editorial leadership. “There is no editorial guidance, no editorial culture,” said one staffer, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. “We’re always chasing the story. How often do you see something that’s fresh and distinctive?” [...]

Feist and other network spokespeople dismiss the ratings comparison, arguing that CNN is not in the same category as MSNBC and Fox News. Where those two offer ideologically driven, partisan analysis, CNN is the only U.S. cable news organization committed to nonpartisan news-gathering, they say.

And if you believe that CNN really is “committed to nonpartisan news-gathering” free of partisanship (cough — shilling for Saddam, getting cozy with Kim Jong Il — cough — Wright-Free Zone — cough — Anderson Cooper’s painful “teabagging” references, baking cakes for Obama and on and on and on) then you might be working for a “news” organization that is also a partisan shop pretending to be objective, and wondering why it’s losing audience as well.

Whatever Fox and MSNBC’s other issues, at least consumers know what sort of product they’re getting when tune into those networks. Trying to pretend to be objective is a long-outdated model that’s reached the end of the production line.

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