David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

The Vapid World of CNN

At one time, CNN was considered a network of substance. People used to trust CNN to deliver important, on-topic news.

What happened? The network has succumbed to competitive pressures and resorted to crass sensationalism, celebrity gossip and the time-honored stories about women in trouble and petty criminals.

Checking on the CNN.com homepage a few moments ago, I see stories “above the fold” about:

  • A fire on a cruise ship (the main story, occupying about a quarter of the screen real estate)
  • A young white woman murdered under mysterious circumstances
  • Another young white woman murdered under mysterious circumstances
  • A young white woman locked in a bedroom for 10 years
  • A murdered pastor whose young white wife and daughters are missing
  • Charlie Sheen’s 9/11 theory (no, I have no idea what that means, or why it deserves two links on the homepage)
  • Sex addiction
  • The cost of car insurance
  • “Ready-to-wear roach jewelry” (no idea)
  • A “droopy pants suspect” who “drives against traffic, flees on foot”
  • A “folk hero sheriff” who’s facing charges of some kind

Buried in the middle of this are the items that resemble real, you know, news:

  • A tour bus crash that killed 12 Americans
  • The rescue of Christian activist hostages in Iraq
  • Donald Rumsfeld “push[ing] message on Iraq as calls grow for his resignation”
  • Death of 33 from Iraqi car bombs

I can only imagine what else I would see if I didn’t use the Firefox AdBlock extension, which filters out most advertisements on the web without a trace.

Stories not deemed important enough to go above the fold on the CNN homepage include:

  • The settlement between GMAC, Delphi and the UAW over retirement benefits for 17,000 workers
  • A new violent protest in France by disaffected youth
  • A major study on the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs
  • The prison sentencing of the dog handler from the Abu Ghraib prison photos
  • A cease-fire declaration by Basque separatists in Spain

And then there are the things that CNN doesn’t deem worthy of extensive coverage every year, a generous sampling of which you can see regularly on the website of Project Censored.

One can only spend so much time bemoaning the idiocy of mainstream media outlets, because it’s such an easy thing to do. I’ll do my best to keep my open-barrel-insert-gun-shoot-fish observations about the media to a minimum from now on.

At least until I find out what Charlie Sheen’s 9/11 theory is.

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