The once-admired cable news outlet CNN has been mired in third place behind Fox News and MSNBC for a very long time now. Judging from the responses to their Thursday night Democratic debate lottery show “The Draw,” the network is likely to remain there for a while.
Bless their hearts, at least they were proud of themselves:
Here are the podium positions for each night of CNN’s Democratic debates.
— CNN (@CNN) July 19, 2019
It is understandable that the CNN bigwigs are desperate to try anything that will at least get them competitive with the network that employs Donny Deutsch.
This desperation shot wasn’t just an air ball, however, it slipped out of their hands and bounced off of their feet.
Restaurants have Yelp for immediate reviews, and television has Twitter. The social media response to “The Draw” wasn’t very charitable:
CNN brutally mocked for how it announced Dem debate lineups…https://t.co/Gw98eKNbP4
— Oklahoma Report (@OklahomaReport) July 19, 2019
OK, that links to a Fox News story. It’s not surprising that FNC is jumping on CNN. How about Rolling Stone then?
CNN’s debate lottery is a new low in politics as sports programming: https://t.co/6ZQXC15LOs
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) July 19, 2019
CNN may not be good at much these days but getting the right-leaning Fox News Channel and the left-leaning Rolling Stone on the same page is truly remarkable in these heated political times.
Here are some quotes from Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article:
No one on CNN should be allowed to complain about Donald Trump again.
I rarely agree with Taibbi on anything, but his analysis here is good:
TV has been working to turn politics into an upbeat, bankable product like sports, game shows, or reality programming for a while now. It’s why the sets for cable TV election-night coverage are indistinguishable from Sunday NFL Countdown, and debate coverage is always littered with boxing metaphors (“Fight Nights Past: Best Debate Knockout Lines” reads this CNN story!).
A live debate-lineup selection lottery is a dramatic step, however. It’s possible CNN was motivated in this direction by the MSNBC/Univision coverage of the first debate, which was basically a sports show disguised as earnest news coverage of a political party committing live-TV suicide by having too many bickering primary candidates.
What people who are professionally immersed in politics continually fail to understand is that most of America just doesn’t care. True, there is some interest around the current Democratic primary because there are 724 people running. The casual observers of politics who pay some attention are doing so because this is the political equivalent of a carnival freak show.
It’s still a presidential primary and most of the fine citizens of the Republic are focused on beer and grilling burgers at this time of year. All of the production bells and whistles in television land won’t make Joe American want to find out who in the heck John Delaney is.
CNN’s real problem, however, has nothing to do with the fact that it’s trying to add some pizzazz to the sale of a product most people don’t want. It’s that they’ve been running around in their pathological Trump-hate bubble for so long now that they mistakenly believe that anyone trying to take him down is fascinating and newsworthy.
CNN execs probably spent most of Friday dismissing the negative reaction to “The Draw.” The network has become such a clown show that it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for them to ask the candidates to begin the next debate with Academy Awards-style song and dance production number.
Don’t stay tuned, America. You’ll be glad you didn’t.