Richard Rushfield of Ricochet paints a damning portrait of a news channel twenty-odd (very odd) years past its prime, and riding on fumes. “Tonight, in its coverage of the death of Whitney Houston, CNN gave its viewers a horrible glimpse into the hollowness at its core:”
As the very young Saturday anchor on duty scrambled to fill the air time, viewers and Houston fans were treated, on top of the usual grasping at straws inanities to the following:
- A parade of America’s leading ghouls and vultures fighting for their a bit of air time in the wake of the death including Al Sharpton, Dr. Drew and Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman – the latter a regular presence on Breaking News Hollywood death broadcasts, this time appearing with the stunning report that the Grammy Party of Clive Davis, Houston’s mentor, was likely to be affected by the news.
- A reporter stopping people on the street to gleefully break the news of Houston’s death and capture their stunned reactions, like some sort of Letterman prank.
- The only “news” the Cable News Network provided in these first hours has thus far been reading of celebrity tweets responding to the death. The fun began in the first hour of the coverage when the anchor suddenly announced that Malcolm Jamal Warner had tweeted his condolences. The 140 character regrets of Kim Kardashian among others soon followed.
This seems to be what we need a major news organization for these days: to read celebrity tweets to us. Because apparently they think 140 characters are more than we could get through on our own.
Related: Another recent look at the MSM bungling a celebrity’s obit: “Joe Paterno, 1926-2012; CBS Jumps the Gun Reporting Obit.”