Monday, April 24, 2023

The Flying Wallendas of CNN

Bernard Shaw (photo: Ann Thomas)

News anchors once had a gravitas. Huntley and Brinkley Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor, Dan Rather—Edward R. Morrow famously smoking. You saw  less of them but it was a little like Samizdat. Scarcity increased value. The 7 o’clock news was a clarion call. Now not only do you have the inundation and repetition of the 24 hour news cycle, but lately, at least, a carnival-like atmosphere has replaced the simple desk behind which the anchor sat. CNN's recent changed format is like "Six Newcasters in Search of a Story." As Kate Bolduan enters stage left one is reminded of James Tyrone's "Enter Ophelia: the mad scene" from Long Day's Journey. In addition you have the feeling the teleprompter rather than the messenger is responsible for the message. Sure there's been legendary reporting at CNN by Bernard Shaw and others, but with the new set design, the network recently unveiled news, which was always entertainment, has evolved--literally--into a three ring circus. The early morning slot with Poppy Harlow, Don Lemon and Caitlin Collins seems to be competing with celebrity shows like Oprah or sometimes even "Weekend Update" on SNL. News has always been entertainment, but now these "light" rather than "left" new virtuosos display a glitter that’s pure show biz. 

read "The Final Solution: All in the Family" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Car Wash" by Rose Royce

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