CNN Is a Joke
By Jamahl Epsicokhan
February 28, 2007
CNN is officially a joke. Either that, or the American public is a joke, which is a distinct alternate possibility.
As everybody knows — seeing as CNN covered it more extensively than the death of a president would likely be covered — Anna Nicole Smith is dead.
This just in. Anna Nicole Smith is ... STILL DEAD.
CNN.com, which has long been my favorite online mainstream-media nation/world news site (clean design, solid content), has been reduced to a shameless tabloid of "Entertainment Tonight" proportions. For the past three weeks, the top slot on CNN's web site has been dedicated largely — though admittedly not exclusively — to the latest who-cares update in the Anna Nicole Smith saga.
Yes, it was a legitimate breaking news story immediately after she died, despite the fact that Smith's fame in American society was inspired mostly by the can't-turn-away-from-this-train-wreck factor (although I turned away just fine, thank you). But now, here it is, nearly THREE FULL WEEKS later, and the story WILL NOT GO AWAY.
Competitors FoxNews.com and MSNBC.com are hardly blameless in this matter, but it appears they are at least back to a normal news cycle, and have mostly removed the Smith story from the No. 1 slot (albeit not from the top headlines).
CNN.com, on the other hand, is still running the story (the new development today being that the courts will allow her to be buried in the Bahamas; WHO CARES) in the top story/photo slot, with a wildly-overstated-for-this-story "BREAKING NEWS" strip across the top. This is beyond lame, beyond pathetic, beyond pandering. This is annoying the crap out of me, and solidifying CNN's reputation in my mind as a punch line. When I saw the headline on the news wire today, my first thought was, "Heh, CNN probably has it as their lead." I mentally laughed at myself and dismissed the notion as, "surely not." Nope. I mean yup; there's the lead: "Court clears way for Smith's Bahamas burial." BREAKING NEWS.
Here's some breaking news: CNN's news editors need a clue. Or whoever is twisting their arms.
Surely no one cares as much as the coverage implies. God, I hope not.
Maybe the mass number of CNN's page views from the dumb American public is proof that I'm wrong and CNN is right. In that case, it's also proof that CNN is complicit in being an enabler, giving the public its fix of witless celebrity train-wreck news, like a heroin needle to the vein.
This needs to stop, stop, stop. Please. Does this country have no credibility for its priorities?