Saturday, May 1, 2010

CNN And The "Take No Sides" Policy And How It Affects Their Ratings.

I have watched, with a lot of interest, CNN and their misguided attempts to stay non partisan. Now, I have absolutely nothing against a news organization being non partisan but the CNN version of non partisanship borders on the disingenuous. My idea of being non partisan is saying what the truth is no matter on whose side it is. CNN's version is not saying anything, a policy which leaves their viewers mostly confused and not knowing what the truth is.

CNN has this advert which says, and correctly so, that truth is neither red nor blue. Yes we all understand that but that doesn't mean that there are two truths to any issue. There's always one truth to an issue and that's what viewers would want to know. That's why they watch news casts and listen to pundits - to be educated. CNN has this favorite refrain " we report, you decide" That's a very wrong attitude for a news organization to have. While that may be right for certain events, it is a very wrong attitude to take when important policy issues are up for debate. The better attitude would be to report both arguments and then, with facts and figures, state the argument that's right. That's what viewers expect, not when you leave them in limbo and say they should decide. Maybe they can't decide correctly because they don't have the facts or knowledge that you can acquire with the resources that you have.

Throughout the health care debate, CNN remained on the fence. They never, not even for once, took a position on the merits or demerits of what was being proposed, by either side. Then when the debate was over and the watered down bill passed, they began to show all the good that could have been done with a stronger bill. Well, wrong timing. Maybe if the people had been so educated when the debate was still on, they might have worked harder to influence the passing of the stronger bill. They might have been more vocal instead of being passive and maybe the right bill would have been passed with their backing.

Take, also, CNN's coverage of the current Tea Party movement as another example. It is clear that these people have absolutely no tax issues to protest under the current government. Every informed person, and I expect CNN is informed, knows that taxes have gone down under President Obama. But, watching CNN's coverage, you'd never know this if you didn't already. One would think that, being educators, they'd expose facts like that to set records straight and inform their audience. Clearly, they don't want to because, I presume, they want to please both sides. Well, they forget one thing and that is the fact that "it's impossible to please everybody at the same time." You lose credibility and, therefore, followership when you do that.

Their argument seems to be that with Fox news on the Right and MSNBC on the Left, CNN should occupy the middle ground. That is a wonderful position to take but only if you can be constantly decisive and come down on the side of the truth on issues and not sit dithering on the fence like CNN does all the time. Their ratings bear this out and until they change their ways, it will continue to go down. It's nature. This is what I think, what do you think?

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