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CNN, The Stupid Network

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

It keeps getting worse at CNN. Two days after CNN President Jim Walton, a 30-year veteran of the network, announced his retirement, the network broadcast a Pink song “Stupid Girls” right before airing a segment about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband Todd visiting a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Woodlands, TX.

The message was clear to any rational viewer; yet, CNN claims that the connection was unintentional as the song was “not intended to be linked to any news story.” A CNN spokesman said that the “music selection was a poor choice….we regret any perception that they were planned together.” Sure, of the thousands of songs in the CNN music catalog it was just a coincidence that “Stupid Girls” was played right before the Palin segment. Sarah Palin is not stupid and neither are viewers who are rightfully upset at the insulting song choice, but CNN certainly does qualify as a stupid network.

In his announcement, Walton admitted that the network “needs new thinking,” which is quite an understatement. The network has descended into the depths of viewer obscurity after years as the undisputed news giant at the top of the ratings.  In fact, Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, invented the cable news format in the 1980’s. The network created such iconic programs as “Crossfire” and was must-see viewing for Americans interested in politics and news coverage.

Today, the network is a joke with a team of left wing anchors pursuing a very obvious political agenda. All of the evening hosts from Erin Burnett to Piers Morgan to Anderson Cooper are liberals who masquerade as independent and fair journalists. CNN boasts that it is an unbiased and objective network that is not tied to any political agenda. The problem is that the network’s rhetoric does not match the reality of what viewers observe on air. Their left wing bias is easily detected in type of stories they cover to the slant in news coverage to the preponderance of liberal guests who are given excessive amounts of air time. Just look at the gratuitous slam at Palin, no one can seriously imagine CNN insulting Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton in a similar fashion.

Viewers who want fair and balanced news coverage are abandoning CNN in droves. Today, the network is at a 21 year low in total audience and is routinely running well behind Fox News and even the far left network, MSNBC, which has given disgraced race hustler Reverend Al Sharpton a prime spot in their line-up. CNN sank even lower when it awarded former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, “Client #9” America’s most famous “John,” a primetime slot.

In the second quarter of 2012, CNN suffered a tremendous loss of viewers, down 35 percent from the previous year and a 42 percent drop in the key 25-54 demographic. The network’s evening news programs are averaging only 446,000 viewers compared to 689,000 for MSNBC and 1.79 million for Fox News. One way to analyze CNN’s dire situation is that in 22 of the past 24 months, MSNBC had more primetime viewers. While MSNBC is honest about their liberalism, CNN is not and viewers are punishing the network for its subterfuge.

CNN is not alone among tradition news outlets that are suffering in today’s new media environment. Last week, liberal magazine Newsweek announced that they are abandoning their print publication for a strictly on-line edition. In New Orleans, the liberal Times Picayune newspaper, owned by the Newhouse family, announced they will shift to a three day a week print schedule.

While some of these announcements are due to the move to on-line and mobile news delivery, liberal bias is certainly another reason why the once mighty media giants are falling.

The ratings are also dropping across the board for the broadcast television networks, both in morning and evening news shows. These programs were once considered by many to be “appointment” television; today they are an afterthought.

When viewers do stumble across such broadcasts, they are likely to see bias. In recent days, ABC News has been rocked by a scandal involving investigative reporter Brian Ross. He inaccurately linked the Colorado Movie shooter to the Tea Party. Of course there was no connection and the reporter had to apologize for his biased piece of “journalism.”

In his rush to trash the Tea Party movement, Ross forgot the journalistic credo of “accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.” While he is not alone among well known figures that mistakenly link the Tea Party to violence, Ross is certainly the most disappointing one to be added to this Hall of Shame. We can expect lamebrain Hollywood stars like Sean Penn and Morgan Freeman to make such idiotic linkages, but not supposedly objective and respected members of the media.

It is no wonder that Americans are abandoning networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Why should viewers rely on anchors like NBC’s Brian Williams to tell them what news is and what to think? Today, they can investigate their own news stories on the Internet and entirely bypass the liberal media structure. Every day more Americans are receiving their news from not only Internet sites, but also talk radio. 

Americans are becoming sophisticated enough to spot bias in the coverage and analysis of news events. Thus, the ratings for CNN and the broadcast networks are down and they will continue to fall.

The heyday of CNN, evening news programs, newspapers and magazines is over. These old forms of biased journalism are in decline. The change should be a welcome one for all Americans who want both fair and objective news coverage.

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