Standing Up For America

Canning Stelter was a dumb move

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Canning Stelter was a dumb move

CNN shut down Reliable Sources after 30 years. Brian Stelter hosted its last show on Sunday. Conservatives are high-fiving over this and it does feel good.

I am happy for two reasons. I enjoy the Trumpenfreude of seeing him leave.

But I also laugh because the new management made a boner. He worked cheap and filled dead Sunday morning airtime for the channel. This is a foolish move. No one will say, well, now that they got rid of Stelter, I am going to watch CNN.

He was CNN’s version of Liz Cheney, who also failed at her job and tried to cover it up by saying she answered to a higher calling. She sees herself as Lincoln. A reader said Liz was more like Mary Todd Lincoln, who went berserk during the Civil War.

Stelter was a down-market Howard Kurtz, the grand master of media navel-gazing. Kurtz had the show once but left CNN to do the same weekly rehash of journalism on Fox. 

Evidently, Stelter’s final show was a hoot. I didn’t watch it because Carl Bernstein was on. No thank you.

Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor of The Atlantic, told Stelter, “You have to be willing to stand up to authority. You have to be willing to lose friends.”

Few in the media will do that. Certainly not Goldberg or Stelter. Fox reported, “Here are 20 major media stories CNN’s Brian Stelter ignored on his so-called media show in 2021.”

But Stelter should ask himself, after years of being a good boy and parroting the party line, what did it get him?

Shelving Stelter’s show was a corporate soap opera move. The guy who replaced Jeff Zucker is getting rid of all Zucker’s loyalists. My guess is Jake Tapper will be next. Their sexual orientation should spare Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. 

The channel would be better off not changing a thing. CNN is not broken. I know this because the New York Times said it is broken.

NYT reported, “Profits Slump at CNN as Ratings Plummet.

“The network is on a pace to drop below $1 billion in profit for the first time in years, according to people familiar with its operations, amid steep declines in TV viewership.”

Hahaha.

Oh no!

Not that!

Not profits falling below a billion. What will CNN do now? Maybe we should start a GoFundMe for CNN.

Its money mainly comes from cable subscription fees. Advertising is a sideline. Yes, people are cutting the cable cord but CNN is still raking the bucks in. CNN is a cash cow for its owner.

Nevertheless, NYT reported, “Ratings are down from their Trump-era heights across cable news, but declines at CNN are particularly pronounced. The network has drawn an average of 639,000 people in prime time this quarter, according to data from Nielsen, a 27% decrease from a year ago. It trails MSNBC, which is down 23% in prime time during the same period, and Fox News, where viewership is up about 1%.

“CNN has spent millions covering the war in Ukraine, two people familiar with its operations said, and the network is still paying some costs associated with CNN+, such as the salaries of high-profile journalists like Chris Wallace and Audie Cornish, which have also weighed on the bottom line.

“The network is trying to defray costs associated with CNN+ by selling some of the programming created for the streaming service to other providers, including HBO Max, which Warner Bros. Discovery also owns.

“Executives at CNN’s corporate parent are examining the media empire — which includes the Turner cable networks and channels like Food Network — to find roughly $3 billion in cost savings.”

The best way to get to that $3 billion is to cut the expensive anchors in favor of the cheapos like Stelter. 

Eventually, cable news will go the way of newspapers. The technology already is 50+ years old. Streaming services will suck up most of the customers in the next decade.

On top of that, news is boring. News Nation (formerly WGN) does straight news and it is painful to watch.

Fox flourishes because it is entertaining. Tucker Carlson running the chyron (the headline at the bottom of the screen) of “Creepy Porn Lawyer” while he was interviewing Michael Avenatti is a legendary moment in TV right up there with Mary Tyler Moore laughing at the funeral of Chuckles the Clown.

Liberals lost their sense of humor long ago, so CNN can forget finding a Gutfeld or a Carlson.

CNN’s best bet is to find a Duck Dynasty or an Ancient Aliens to fill airtime. 

I suggest Real Housewives of Kyiv or Keeping Up With The Zelenskys.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the departure of Stelter because he sucked. But unless CNN has some hotshot reality show waiting in the wings, dumping him doesn’t help its ratings or its bottom line that much.

Posted by Don Surber at 8/22/2022 11:00:00 AM