How the mighty are fallen from earlier glory: in the 1990ies, CNN was the scrappy, creative underdog in the TV news business. No name anchors and reporters, bare-bones no-frills sets, go anywhere, cover anything reporters and camera crews. In the first Gulf War, they were Johnny-on-the spot and the news source to watch for war developments, if my memory serves. And now, some knowledgeable commenters and bloggers wonder openly if the only reason that CNN’s viewership isn’t crashing more steeply than has been reported is because of the channels’ ubiquity at airports and other public venues. Once upon a golden time, it seemed only logical for the owners/managers of airports and the like to have contracts with CNN, and no one objected much because it was CNN, a responsible and political neutral source of news.
Up until about a year ago, CNN was the channel of choice on the TV monitors in all the waiting areas in the military clinic and hospital where I partake of my retiree medical benefits. I couldn’t help thinking that CNN’s decidedly anti-Trump bias must have been an acute embarrassment to the military managers of those places, being that DJT was the commander in chief. Over the last year or so, CNN was replaced by the Home & Garden Channel, or an in-house military health information video feed in the public waiting areas. Having a round-the-clock cable diss of the commander in chief on TV in a military hospital … the dissonance must have been epic for the various military commanders of those activities.
Not just CNN has been shedding viewers like a deciduous tree sheds leaves in the fall – other media outlets are feeling the same pinch, according to this report. How many viewers are cutting the cable, in which CNN and ESPN are a prominent element of a cable package bundle, and how many are just not tuning in, or dropping a print subscription? A lot, one may be certain. A once-powerful weekly news roundup print magazine like Newsweek is famously priced at $1, and I am mildly surprised to see that their once-equally influential rival, Time, still exists in print. Internet news, and individual bloggers doing local or specific-interest reporting augmented those publications who had the foresight to set up on-line versions – but even some of the on-line-only publications are taking hits in the personnel department.
It is my estimation that over the last decade (and maybe for a decade before that) many consumers of news have now come to see the mainstream news media, of which CNN is an element, not as an honest broker of information, but as virulently partisan. We began to suspect that was the case, and developments like Rathergate confirmed it. How many times, we began to wonder, in comment threads and on blogs, and through alternate media, had we been either lied to, straight up, or had essential facts deliberately omitted from coverage of issues. This kind of doubt of the media used to be the territory of cranks and eccentrics; the kind of people who were convinced that the X-Files was a documentary. But now media distrust has gone mainstream. We know that they have been deliberately shaping the news, coordinating coverage and the editorial line, omitting coverage of stories judged to be counter to the established narrative. The most recent example has been Denver STEM high school shooting, which vanished from the mainstream media coverage almost as soon as it was realized that the shooters were a gay teen and a transgender with a violently-inclined illegal alien parent, that the students involved resisted at once … and resisted again when anti-gun crusaders attempted to use them as the centerpiece for a public pity party. That story is gone, gone, gone from the national media; and this when a previous school shooting in Broward County, Florida, rang all the establishment media’s preferred bells and coverage went on for days and days.
Discuss as you wish; how our national news media has descended into Pravda and Izvestia territory, how much farther can they sink, will they ever recover credibility, and which sources still maintain credibility.