CNN Is Dead, A Victim Of Blind Adherence To Silly Principles
In the end, it’s usually our principles that betray us. Former CNN chief Rick Kaplan told Ken Auletta in his 2004 biography of founder Ted Turner, “Basically, the Fox prime-time schedule is just talk radio. And with the networks convinced they don’t need to cover the world, there really is a need for CNN. You need to have one network that really covers the news, not talks about covering the news.”
As it turns out, of course, he was wrong: Last week, Nielsen reported that CNN had lost roughly half its prime-time viewers in the first quarter of 2010 compared with a year earlier, despite news events like the Haiti earthquake. Meanwhile, Fox News’s “talk radio” on TV propelled it to second place among all cable networks in the same time period. In 2009, led by the twin riders of the apocalypse Glenn Beck (up 50 percent year over year) and his comparatively more fact-based coeval Bill O’Reilly (up a mere 28 percent, but still boasting an audience nearly five times that of Larry King’s), Fox had its best year ever.
It’s easy to forget that CNN was once revolutionary..