Unexamined Premises

This Was CNN

Last night’s vulgar stunt by somebody named Kathy Griffin, performed on somebody named Anderson Cooper in the course of “covering” the happens-every-year ball drop at Times Square for CNN, should rightly mark the end of the network as a serious news outlet. (You can watch it here.)

No one should be surprised.  CNN and indeed much of American journalism, has been heading this way since advent of the Snark Generation — Harvard-educated princelings who, having failed to land a writing job on The Simpsons, took their tiny little sacks of tricks into the mainstream media, spreading out from the late Spy magazine (which really was funny early in its run) to New York, Vanity Fair and even my old alma mater, Time magazine. In short order, gossip was elevated to the status of news, serious cultural journalism vanished in the what’s-hot-now haze and “attitude” supplanted judgment as a hallmark of distinction.

Well, you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. But CNN should pay a high price for this little stunt, as indeed it’s already doing; were it not for its monopoly on airport TV screens and its dominance, via CNN International, of overseas hotel television, it might already be out of business. In retrospect, the network’s high-water mark came during the first Gulf War — you remember that one, the one Bush Sr. didn’t finish. It’s been downhill ever since: anchorcritters who make Ted Baxter and Ron Burgundy look authoritative, election coverage with a panel full of B-team analysts and “strategists,” and an overall level of discourse better suited to the third grade.

But this is what comes of gleefully abandoning one’s standards, as American journalism did once it renounced “objectivity” and proudly endorsed the Leftist agenda of non-judgmental society wrecking. Unable to draw meaningful distinctions, or to contextualize the news in a PC-free way, CNN and its fellow MSM outlets can no longer tell the truth because they no longer know what the truth is.