A couple of days ago it was announced that Jeff Zucker is looking to change the face of CNN. CapitalNewYork.com declared "After almost a year of tinkering, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker has concluded that a news channel cannot subsist on news alone."
Then they quoted him from an interview he most likely gave another news outlet when he said, “We're all regurgitating the same information. I want people to say, ‘You know what? That was interesting. I hadn't thought of that. The goal for the next six months is that we need more shows and less newscasts.”
To be fair, I have no idea if he actually gave that quote to the reporter from Capital New York or BuzzFeed or some dude I follow on Facebook, because I'm not a real journalist and until two days ago I didn't know that CapitalNewYork.com was even a website that existed until it seemingly regurgitated that information. But as much as I like to hate on fat cats and big time executives, that very fact speaks to why Zucker kind of has a point with this strategy.
After all, CNN is broken, and I should know, because I watch The Daily Show and Jon Stewart tells me that CNN is pretty terrible.
Plus BLACKFISH was great, and pursuing more programming like that makes sense for an exec who is chasing after “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E.” Will the new CNN have the pure journalistic integrity that Stewart is after (and that America arguably deserves)? Undoubtedly not. No fucking way.
But as terrible as it could likely be for our country's democracy, personally I'm super curious to see what it turns into, and to find out if they can turn it into something that I would ever want to watch when I'm not just stuck at the terminal waiting for a flight that was delayed by just long enough to keep me from going to the bar for another drink but not long enough to let me watch the rest of that one SONS OF ANARCHY episode on my iPad.
Meanwhile, I love the timing of this announcement, as it's hitting the Internet just weeks before ANCHORMAN 2 hits movie theaters across America. People who are worried about whether or not this sequel lives up to the batshit awesomeness of the original have NOTHING to worry about, and even more amazing than the cah-razy comedy are the parts of the film that deal with Ron Burgundy and his News Team reacting to the realities of the birthing of the 24 hour cable news cycle in the '80s. It's a film that skewers that cable news channel culture even more than Colbert has managed to do, while still making you love the characters and the amount of times you get to hear the word "Whammy!" And it seemed like the perfect final nail in the coffin of American journalism.
And then Zucker went and said he wants his news channel to be more like the Discovery Channel. Hooray!!
Of course, the news in America has always been a mess. It's been partisan since its inception, and it's also always been about attracting readers by doing whatever it takes to get an audience. When you're a kid you learn that noted journalist / founding father Ben Franklin said things like, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Then you grow up and learn that Ben Franklin also said, "Fuck that shit, I'm going to France and I'm going to have sex with allllll the prostitutes," and you KNOW that those hookers kept him up late all the god damned time, but he at least stayed wealthy and wise anyway.
So with an understanding that muckrakers were the original trolls, I don't really care about whether CNN loses it's last semblance journalistic integrity as it chases viewers with more infotainment than news. And I think Ron Burgundy does the world a great service in ANCHORMAN 2, too.
I do SUPER hate Nancy Grace, though, and I sincerely hope one of Zucker's first infotainment ratings grab is a show called I'M SO FUCKING SORRY, AMERICA, where he goes on the air and apologizes for all the lame things CNN has done in the past, and that the first episode is a two hour special about how much he realizes ever giving Nancy Grace money and a microphone was the biggest mistake of his life.
What do you think? Will you ever watch a new CNN? Am I being overly simplistic in my disregard for the network's place in maintaining our country's basic government? Or is it all too broken to matter by now anyway and so you're already getting your "news" from the guys on MYTHBUSTERS? Let's hash it out...