Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Foxification of CNN

Next month CNN will launch a daily show on it Headline News Channel hosted by right wing talk radio host Glenn Beck. Beck will be the sixth right wing talk radio host with a cable show. The others are Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, Don Imus, and John Gibson. There is one liberal talker featured on a cable show. Alan Colmes, the conservative's favorite liberal, who co-hosts the Hannity and Colmes Show. One other -- Bill Press -- was canned by MSNBC. Here is a letter that I wrote to CNN protesting their decision to give Beck a daily TV show.

Dear CNN:

I am totally outraged at your decision to give right wing talk show host Glenn Beck a show on CNN Headline News. This coupled with your decision to add Bill Bennett "why don’t we abort black babies,” as a commentator confirms that CNN, the only news network that liberals have been able to tolerate, has decided to copy the playbook's of the Fox Network and their pathetic wanna-be MSNBC. You are making a big mistake. Do you know what a well-known right wing idiot Beck is? Here are just a few quotes that are attributable to this worm.

On families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks: "This is horrible to say, and I wonder if I'm alone in this—you know, it took me about a year to start hating the 9-11 victims' families? Took me about a year."

And on Hurricane Katrina survivors who remained in New Orleans: "And that's all we're hearing about, are the people in New Orleans. Those are the only ones that we're seeing on television are the scumbags...It's just a small percentage of those who were left in New Orleans, or who decided to stay in New Orleans, and they're getting all the attention."

When you decided to cancel the provocative weekend talk show -- "Capital Gang" and hard hitting daily interview show "Cross Fire" (which was a feature on CNN before Ted Turner got rich) I was very disappointed. But at least you appeared to be following a cohesive programming strategy. The move seemed to suggest that CNN was going be different than the Fox network. Now we are seeing that you are giving up that strategy and turning to the right by hiring Bennett and Beck.

Well CNN has lost one viewer who has watched the network since 1980. I remember all the highpoints. The ground breaking launch of “Cross Fire,” the dramatic coverage of the first Gulf War and the civil war in Sudan, and Ted Turner's brash and innovative style. Now we have right wing talkers Bennett and Beck and CNN trying to be another Fox wannabe network.

CNN President Jonathan Klein thinks that the network can make moves like this without offending liberal Democratic viewers. After all wasn't it Klein who said to Charlie Rose that “liberals don't get too worked up about anything. And they're pretty morally relativistic."

Well, you tell Mr. Klein that this liberal has had it. I won't watch CNN turn into another right wing news network. I work out of my home and I am happy to listen to Air America and NPR. I guess I'll have to start watching PBS news and the BBC for my TV news fix.

I use to work in the cable TV business. I actually attended the launch of CNN on Cox Cable in San Diego when Ted Turner pushed the button starting the network. Turner said, at that time, the network would stay onuntil the world ends. For me that end occurs when Beck starts his show on Headline News.

Good bye and good luck

Bruce Kaufman

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