Yesterday, while actual news was probably happening, CNN decided to run a segment on racial division in this country. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing, if it managed to display even a speck of perspective or insight. Instead, it was Don Lemon (who has always seemed like a pretty smart guy) walking around the streets of New York asking people about different racial slurs written on index cards (apparently, writing hateful words on cards makes it less offensive or something). Think of it as the Tonight Show’s Jaywalking segment but with the n-word and probably the same amount of laughs.
Next, Don Lemon brought the issue back to the studio where he held a panel of experts to discuss the topic and this was the headline:
Now, I am glad they managed to get some actual African Americans on to the show so they could talk about their actual experiences with the n-word, Fox News would have just had Fox and Friends discuss it with Glenn Beck.
But what’s insane is the premise itself and the implications it suggests.
The n-word is obviously worse than “cracker” and here is a test to prove it: which word did they abbreviate? Which word did they feel was so hurtful, vile, and offensive that they didn’t even put it in the title of a segment specifically about that word? I think they answered their own question.
I don’t plan on discussing the issue any further, I’ll leave that to the Youtube comment section (probably for a video about skateboards or zebras), but what is remarkable is how low CNN is willing to go for someone, anyone, to watch it. It’s no secret that CNN has been flagging in the last several years. Losing to Fox News over and over again when Fox News is nothing more than a propaganda machine built for the Right has got to sting. Luckily, they still have a high profile murder trial or two every year to help buoy those numbers but other than that… let’s just say the vultures are circling the studio. And so it’s unsurprising that CNN is swinging in any direction it can trying, desperately, to get viewers. The problem is they keep going in the direction of cheap views and not in the direction of earning the trust of a viewership that would be interesting in coming back for more.
Human interest pieces are okay. High profile court cases are okay. But do some ACTUAL NEWS. Those fluff pieces should break up reports on Syria, or congressional hearings, or investigative journalism that uncovers something important. There is a reason that the NSA was watching a Fox News guys email, an Associated Press journalists email and NOT a single person from CNN, what could they possibly worry about from the network that brought you the “n-word vs cracker: which is worse?” Segment?
But, of course, CNN takes every month’s declining viewership numbers to mean they have to go dumber. With their tunnel vision, they fail to see that what they offer is so below substantive that people can’t even bring themselves to tune in once, and other networks are reaping the benefits of a empty shell where a once big news network had been. They are aiming so low now that they can only shoot their own foot. But hey, maybe they can do a human interest piece on it: “The news network that’s dead inside: The CNN story” tonight at 11.