news’s secret weapon


I had to watch a boatload of news, in fact, significantly more news than any one person should ever be exposed to, to make sure I got this one right. I even bypassed my beloved ESPN several times to endure the background research. I watched Foxnews, MSNBC and CNN.

Why? In case you haven’t been paying attention … news on television has a new secret weapon – CNN. Yeah. I know CNN has been around for a while but they really have picked up their game lately.

And while I was fairly certain, mostly because I am a centrist, that CNN doesn’t skew republican/democrat/liberal/conservative I did do some personal research.

CNN has truly become the news network who’s vision is ‘enlightening people.’

In a world where TV ratings seem to be defined by one of two things, disaster <or negative> news coverage and telling people what they should think <to people who already want to think those things> CNN is truly differentiating themselves by … well … just making people think.

In Bruce words they day in and day out seem to focus on fighting ignorance with well-rounded information … their objective? Don’t tell people what to think just tell them what to think about. I love it.

MSNBC <which has so low ratings I am fairly sure liberals do not really watch TV> is definitely skewed liberal/democrat.

Fox is shamelessly skewed republican/conservative.

Both stations stock their newscasts with blabbing talking heads who speak directly to the viewership saying exactly what they either want to hear or what they should think <and felt that they should have been thinking just that anyway>.

CNN? Not only are they brutally bi-partisan/non-partisan showcasing an equal amount of biased talking heads <and brutally disagreeing with them on air> but they also have some really nice panels of people who are obviously skewed in their perspective but also fair with how they communicate and share ideas.

And when they don’t? The newscasters/news moderators shut them down.

Unfortunately <hence the reason I called this the news secret weapon> most tv viewers seemingly don’t want to think … they want someone else to think, and provide an opinion, for them.

I guess they want to only watch someone who pursues sharing information skewed to how they already think.

Tell ‘em what they want to hear seems to be the strategy.

Maybe that’s why CNN ratings aren’t as high.

Instead they, CNN, tell ‘em what they need to hear as a strategy.

I imagine I have always known this and that is why when I decide to watch the news I switch over to CNN <if I cannot get BBC>.

It is sad.

Because CNN’s ratings have hit record lows. The company is still making money thanks to an international presence, but U.S. viewers seem to rather watch the more opinionated competitors at MSNBC and Fox News.

And it is really sad because they really have dialed up their “open minded/open view” editorial attitude during this election period.

Maybe it is because we are in a political season where opinions are so skewed it gets scary, they seem to have sat down in an editorial meeting several months ago and decided to really dial up the non-partisanship delivery. And I mean REALLY dial it up.

Piers Morgan, while being respectful, has been bringing a dialed up British common sense bullshit meter rhetoric to his interviews.

Soledad O’Brien has been shutting down guest onscreen interviews when they simply are not answering the question and trying to deliver their ‘party line.’ And she isn’t just shutting them down subtly she is saying “if you won’t answer the question then, thanks, goodbye.” <by the way … I believe she may be one of the most underrated newscasters out there today>

They have probably the two best open minded partisan correspondent/experts onscreen …

This young guy named Will Cain who is clearly conservative but if all conservatives would actually be as articulate and pointed with regard to his thoughts as he is … well .. maybe we would understand what the heck politicians actually say. But … he is a prime example of a CNN correspondent relentlessly pursuing truth. He is young. Smart. Articulate. A great communicator … and listener.

<note: I don’t care your particular views … you should check him out … he is excellent>

On CNN’s “Starting Point” Will Cain confronted Debbie Wasserman Schultz about Congress’s refusal to tackle some of the tough fiscal issues until after the election.

–          “I think that’s an interesting quote you put up also recognizing the amount of work that you guys have to do over the next six months,” Cain said, addressing the Congresswoman. “You have what is equivalent of all of the Bush tax cuts expiring, you have the budget resolution, you have to come together on those forced cuts. I think the total package is over $4 trillion. Larger than any stimulus passed and any tax cut that’s ever passed. Why aren’t you working on it yet? Why are you waiting until supposedly after the November election to address these issues?”

“You guys?” Schultz asked.

“I’m not in Congress,” countered Cain.

“But Speaker Boehner is the leader of Congress and controls the agenda with Eric Cantor…” said Schultz.

“I’m not in Congress,” reiterated Cain. “I’m asking you because you are a member of Congress.”

“I’m a member of Congress in the minority, unfortunately, which I plan to help change in November,” Schultz shot back. “But the people who control the agenda right now in the House of Representatives are the Republicans. Ask them why they haven’t brought a single jobs bill to the floor since they took over the majority. Ask them why they are getting ready to allow the student loan interest rates to double.”

“So put out a package right now to extend the Bush tax cuts, you would be on board with that is what you’re saying?” Cain asked.

“No, I’d be opposed to that,” affirmed Schultz.

“Then you would be obstructing that,” observed Cain.

“The Bush tax cuts adds $700 billion to the deficit. Why would we extend them?” argued Schultz. “We need to continue to focus on President Obama’s agenda, giving tax breaks to the middle class and 18 different tax breaks he’s given to small businesses –”

Cain cut off the DNC chief in mid-sentence to point out Wasserman Schultz didn’t want to address the issues at hand.

“It’s clear all of the things coming up before the end of the year, you’re not interested in working on those right now,” said Cain.

<that was awesome … he was awesome … and all CNN correspondents have been just as awesome in this ‘frankness’ attitude>

and the second one at CNN is Fareed Zakaria, who I sense may be slightly liberal, but almost always errs on the side of common sense from a global perspective. His show, GPS, is a breath of fresh air providing broader longer view perspective amid all the senseless finger pointing which seems to occur over individual events. In general, foreign policy gwonks can just bludgeon you with a relentless array of boring factoids but Fareed has an incredibly common sense no bullshit way of articulating some fairly complex issues. In a landscape of partial truths he steps in and clearly states the situation and possible solutions. And he has absolutely no hesitation calling out politicians who abuse the facts.

And every once in a while CNN has a delightful guest named Ana Navarro, who is certainly a Republican pundit … who unabashedly says she is not a Romney fan.

They actually have a nice array of no-bullshit correspondents. The economic experts take the job reports, tear apart the ‘spin doctors’ rhetoric, tell you the truth behind the numbers and tell you what you should know <in a nice common sense way>. I have even seen one of the newscasters, I think maybe Erin Burnett, say on air, during an interview after hearing another politician spout forth the tried & true <and trite> same ole same ole sentences … “I will be glad when this is over and I will never have to hear those words again.” Nice honesty.


I wish more people would watch CNN.

I may be in a minority but I think it helps to hear some information, and views, that make you a little uncomfortable. I like the onscreen sparring of views. I think CNN has the best bullshit-ometer on television today … on any and all issues.

I like to see CNN for hard news. I like the intelligent commentators. I like their obvious non-bias toward any view other than a straightforward non-bullshit view.

They may not be as warm & fuzzy as the local news stations.

And they certainly aren’t as biased as other news networks.

But if you really want to understand the issues happening in the news, and you don’t have hours to research issues on your own online, CNN is a good home for your news viewing.

I do not begrudge biased viewing. It is always nice to hear someone articulate the complex nebulous thoughts you have in your own head well … in words you can repeat when asked your own opinion on things.

The difference is CNN makes you think. They may not give you your desired “sound bite to sound smart” they just make you think for yourself. It is harder work, harder viewing, but I find it hones my thoughts better than any station out there.

We could use more CNN-like vehicles today.

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Written by Bruce