Editorial: This is a national news channel?

Published 9:59 am Thursday, August 16, 2012

CNN. It’s supposedly stands for Cable News Network. That’s laughable.

On Tuesday night, Minnesota voters went to the polls for a primary election. So did voters in Wisconsin, Connecticut and Florida. News resulted, much of which was reported by the Associated Press and appeared on newspaper websites across the nation, including the Albert Lea Tribune’s. Here is a rundown:

• Veterinarian and political novice Ted Yoho scored an upset in a Republican primary in Florida when he defeated 12-term (that’s 24 years!) U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns by about 800 votes. That’s less than 1 percent of the total.

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• U.S. Rep. John Mica, a 10-term congressman, in Florida staved off a Tea Party challenger who had backing from Sarah Palin.

• Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, an establishment Republican, beat back a Tea Party candidate and two others, including one fellow who wasted $4 million of his own money on his candidacy.

• Former pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon finally won the GOP nod in a Senate primary race in the wealthy Greenwich area of Connecticut.

• In Minnesota, two candidates won races despite being out of the political spotlight for decades. Republican Allen Quist, who served in the Minnesota House in the 1980s, and Democrat Rick Nolan, who served in Congress from 1975 to 1981, won their races to compete for their respective congressional districts.

Was any of this news on the Cable News Network on Tuesday? No. Not even the former pro wrestling executive.

They aired Piers Morgan fawning over Olympic soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, interviewing author and actor Richard Belzer about his book and his politics and, of course, moderating a good dose of people yelling and screaming at each other over various topics. Anderson Cooper came on next, and it was a repeat episode.

What about the crawler at the bottom of the screen? Nothing. No news at all.

It was as though everybody went home, and they all left the network on a programmed, automatic feed.

Why people watch CNN or any news over cable television is beyond us. They could rename the channel THSOEO, for Talking Heads Shouting Over Each Other, because that seems to be all that is ever on, at least when reporters aren’t wasting airtime by interviewing other reporters.

Sure, Tuesday was only four states, but all summer has had primaries in various states on Tuesdays. Viewers of self-proclaimed national news channel would expect at least some news about them.

If you really want to be informed, read. Get your news from print journalists, whether in print or online or both.