The self-proclaimed most-trusted-name-in-news network is making some shakeups. One would think shakeup meant trying their darnest to improve and become even more trusted. So why is CNN’s head honcho Jeff Zucker kicking Soledad O’Brien to the curb? Even more absurd, they reportedly are going to replace her with Erin Burnett and Chris Cuomo.
Don’t get me wrong, Burnett, who already hosts her own show with a nice weekly 7 p.m. time slot, is an attractive young woman whose attempt at hard-hitting, engaging programming is…well, check out her show and you decide. Can she grab and hold your interest for an hour?
I find it extremely interesting that CNN wants to throw out the toughest host they have at the network. O’Brien, who hosts the early morning "Starting Point" doesn’t shy away from asking the uncomfortable questions and will call out double-talking politicians and lying pundits if she has to. Isn’t that what “most trusted” should look like?
Cozying up to guests, asking the soft questions while being afraid or paid not to do real investigative journalism seems to be the par for the course these days on every network - but CNN said they were different. Of course, we knew better for some time now, despite their masquerade at being impartial and balanced.
But let’s face it, the only truly impartial networks are public access television like PBS, which Mitt Romney had threatened to cut if he became president. The rest are for-profit, privately owned by only six corporations, which begs the question: Who controls the conversation in America?
O’Brien’s firing does not surprise me, and I often wondered how she lasted this long. Doing shows like “Black in America: The New Promised Land -- Silicon Valley,” which shone a glaring spotlight on that very white world; or the complexities of color and shades of color in "Who is Black in America?”—just to name a couple, was not the kind of fare served generally over at CNN or any of the other major networks.
When the media flashes glaring headlines, or spotlights pundits, someone somewhere has a financially vested interest in that headline and what follows. It's kind of like our politicians in Washington, who hold the country hostage with threats of sequestration, fiscal cliff shenanigans, gun control inaction or propose questionable legislation because they’re beholden to their rich campaign donors, lobbyists, or their extremist supporters.
CNN firing Soledad O’Brien while still claiming to be the most trusted news newtwork around would be laughable if it wasn’t terribly disheartening. It's disheartening because it appears that there isn’t any credible network around anymore. They claim ratings for "Starting Point" weren’t where they should be. OK, move her to the evening or during the day. See what works; don’t replace her with Burnett. Is she supposed to be the hard-hitting, ratings-grabbing magnet? To reiterate, if this wasn’t a sad commentary on our news and where it is heading, I would laugh out loud.
Disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer got his CNN show in a prime-time slot after his call-girl, socks-wearing, dirty-boy fetish became public, so standards over at CNN must not have been that high. They should be proud to have a journalist with O’Brien’s caliber and guts.
But in their defense, if they are already the most trusted folks in news, there might not be much room for improvement.
However, CNN looks like the one on the losing end, for O’Brien doesn’t want her fan base to cry for her. She recently told the Huffington Post that being fired from CNN was a “win-win” and despite her show not getting adequate promotion and support, they did a really good job.
So like BET with CNN alum T.J Holmes’ show, O’Brien’s did not get much marketing by her network but still was expected to bring high ratings. Then she was axed for not delivering what the network didn’t help her deliver. Hmmm, I smell a set-up.
Which brings up a very important question—are certain hosts set up to fail the ratings game?
Click on links within article for additional information and the video above to hear "The Young Turks" take on Soledad getting the axe.