Editorial: CNN anchor has the wrong idea

Published 10:05 am Monday, October 29, 2012

A CNN anchor interviewed some expert on politics last week, and one question asked was whether newspaper endorsements of candidates are relevant anymore. In asking the question, she spouted off about declining newspaper circulation and troubles within the industry.

Sure, the print version of newspapers in general aren’t what they were even a decade ago, but the CNN anchor sure has a false impression of the status of the industry. Technology has done a lot to strengthen the reach of local newspapers all across America. They have three or four times the audience they did before the Internet era. When someone wants to know what is happening in a certain city, they don’t go to the TV station’s website, do they? The first stop is that city’s newspaper website. And people who never ever subscribed now can be found reading the Internet edition daily.

What was especially laughable about the CNN anchor’s loaded question was that CNN itself is struggling with low ratings. National Public Radio in August reported: “The news network CNN has recently seen its ratings during primetime hit record lows. The company is still making money, thanks to its international presence, but here in the United States, viewers are increasingly turning to more opinionated competitors: MSNBC and Fox News.”

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Moreover, the political expert didn’t seem to give the answer the CNN anchor wanted. He said newspaper endorsements for president aren’t as worthy as the endorsements for local races, such as U.S. senator or state governor. He noted how the Des Moines Register’s endorsement every four years prior to the Iowa presidential caucuses is worth its weight in gold. He said the long tradition of newspapers endorsing candidates is one that newspaper readers expect, even in the digital era.

We have a suggestion for CNN: Perhaps the network would get better ratings if it worked harder on not hyping the news it covers. EVERY THING ON CNN IS A BIG DEAL! Viewers no doubt must get weary of that. Perhaps garnering a reputation of calm and steady, much like the BBC has, would bring the network around.