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ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | August 22, 2013
Watching the debut this week of Al Jazeera America, I couldn't help but remember reviewing the first week of Erin Burnett's show on CNN in October 2011. I say this not to rip Burnett again, but because her attitude toward the Occupy Wall Street protesters in that first week in 2011 offers such a clean snapshot of the difference in orientation between CNN and Al Jazeera America. And it's important to understand that difference, because unlike Fox News and MSNBC, which wave their ideological flags openly, CNN and Al Jazeera America both claim to be doing down-the-middle, straight journalism.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | August 22, 2013
Watching the debut this week of Al Jazeera America, I couldn't help but remember reviewing the first week of Erin Burnett's show on CNN in October 2011. I say this not to rip Burnett again, but because her attitude toward the Occupy Wall Street protesters in that first week in 2011 offers such a clean snapshot of the difference in orientation between CNN and Al Jazeera America. And it's important to understand that difference, because unlike Fox News and MSNBC, which wave their ideological flags openly, CNN and Al Jazeera America both claim to be doing down-the-middle, straight journalism.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | October 5, 2011
I promised myself I was going to give CNN's new weeknight host Erin Burnett a full week of shows before I reviewed her. It was hard keeping that promise Monday night when I saw her pay a visit to the Occupy Wall Street encampment so she could look down her nose and mock the folks there. I thought it downright cruel the way she and her producer cut one kid from the herd and then tried to make him look like a fool. This was cool kids mocking outsiders on the playground, and it made me angry.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2013
CNN and Soledad O'Brien Thursday announced a new deal that will take her out of the morning weekday anchor chair and make her an independent producer of documentaries for the channel. The move by new CNN chief Jeff Zucker is a smooth one that keeps a talented journalist connected to the CNN brand while paving the way for the one-time executive producer of the "Today" show to launch a weekday morning show of his own design featuring Chris Cuomo and most likely Erin Burnett, who is now struggling in the ratings weeknights at 7 p.m. on CNN. The new deal gives O'Brien, an award-winning correspondent for her work on such CNN productions as "Black in America," a guaranteed income producing non-fiction programs for the channel through a production company she will form.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | November 2, 2011
This year, I gave up reporting cable news ratings every month. The numbers and spin tell us about the horse race to some extent. But what they mainly do is distract us from the important moral and cultural stories of the way these channels are warping our view of the world with their ideological and show biz priorities rather than any genuine commitment to news and information. But there are ratings, and then, there are ratings. And the October numbers that just came out offer a sobering snapshot of just how badly CNN's misadventures in programming are going -- even as they cheapen their news brand identity to try and find larger audiences.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | October 30, 2012
A day's worth of some excellent storm coverage by CNN was all but shredded during the Piers Morgan show Monday night when meteorologist Chad Myers reported that the New York Stock Exchange was under three feet of water and the hip-shooting host ran wild with the report that turned out to be false. What a shame for all those CNN correspondents in places like Rehoboth Beach, Ocean City and Asbury Park who spent the day and night standing in cold ocean water and rain doing such a fine job of reporting the story.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2012
UPDATED with copy of CNN memo and confirmation of cancellation ... John King's nightly show on CNN has been cancelled. King, the star of political reporting during the 2008 presidential campaign, will continue with the channel as its "lead campaign correspodent," according to an internal memo from CNN President Ken Jautz. King was chief national correspondent. Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room," which now runs two hours, will be expanded to three hours, 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | January 30, 2013
Talk about hitting the floor running, Jeff Zucker looks to have arrived at CNN this month in a flat-out sprint. It's hard not to be impressed by what he's already done: Started to make CNN suddenly seem a couple of decades younger. It's like watching an aggressive and skilled general manager rebuild a baseball team from the bottom up -- first adding younger but already tested major-league talent to the roster while releasing some one-time big names that were no longer productive.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2012
UPDATES WITH LINK TO RESPONSE POST BY GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: After watching coverage of the Wisconsin recall, I am convinced more than ever that it's time for a major press gut check. We have been in real trouble for a long time with cable TV news, but we truly have reached a new low of partisanship at MSNBC and Fox News -- and confusion at CNN. It's the confusion part at CNN that has me truly worried these days. Monday night after watching cable TV, I wrote about being "dismayed" by the polarized place that MSNBC and Fox News had come to. Scott Walker, the Republican governor, wouldn't talk to MSNBC, and Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger, wouldn't come on Fox. Who could blame them?
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2013
CNN and Soledad O'Brien Thursday announced a new deal that will take her out of the morning weekday anchor chair and make her an independent producer of documentaries for the channel. The move by new CNN chief Jeff Zucker is a smooth one that keeps a talented journalist connected to the CNN brand while paving the way for the one-time executive producer of the "Today" show to launch a weekday morning show of his own design featuring Chris Cuomo and most likely Erin Burnett, who is now struggling in the ratings weeknights at 7 p.m. on CNN. The new deal gives O'Brien, an award-winning correspondent for her work on such CNN productions as "Black in America," a guaranteed income producing non-fiction programs for the channel through a production company she will form.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | January 30, 2013
Talk about hitting the floor running, Jeff Zucker looks to have arrived at CNN this month in a flat-out sprint. It's hard not to be impressed by what he's already done: Started to make CNN suddenly seem a couple of decades younger. It's like watching an aggressive and skilled general manager rebuild a baseball team from the bottom up -- first adding younger but already tested major-league talent to the roster while releasing some one-time big names that were no longer productive.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | October 30, 2012
A day's worth of some excellent storm coverage by CNN was all but shredded during the Piers Morgan show Monday night when meteorologist Chad Myers reported that the New York Stock Exchange was under three feet of water and the hip-shooting host ran wild with the report that turned out to be false. What a shame for all those CNN correspondents in places like Rehoboth Beach, Ocean City and Asbury Park who spent the day and night standing in cold ocean water and rain doing such a fine job of reporting the story.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | July 19, 2012
I know some of my more parochial colleagues can't get past the troubles CNN continues to have in its prime-time American operation. And I am right up there in being dismayed by some of the moves management has made with Eliot Spitzer, Kathleen Parker, Erin Burnett and Piers Morgan. But facts are facts, and CNN has a different business model than anybody else in the cable news business because of its overwhelming international infrastructure and reach. And Thursday it got some more good news on that front with an audience measurement survey that shows its dominance among news channels in Africa.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2012
UPDATED with copy of CNN memo and confirmation of cancellation ... John King's nightly show on CNN has been cancelled. King, the star of political reporting during the 2008 presidential campaign, will continue with the channel as its "lead campaign correspodent," according to an internal memo from CNN President Ken Jautz. King was chief national correspondent. Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room," which now runs two hours, will be expanded to three hours, 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2012
UPDATES WITH LINK TO RESPONSE POST BY GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: After watching coverage of the Wisconsin recall, I am convinced more than ever that it's time for a major press gut check. We have been in real trouble for a long time with cable TV news, but we truly have reached a new low of partisanship at MSNBC and Fox News -- and confusion at CNN. It's the confusion part at CNN that has me truly worried these days. Monday night after watching cable TV, I wrote about being "dismayed" by the polarized place that MSNBC and Fox News had come to. Scott Walker, the Republican governor, wouldn't talk to MSNBC, and Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger, wouldn't come on Fox. Who could blame them?
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | November 2, 2011
This year, I gave up reporting cable news ratings every month. The numbers and spin tell us about the horse race to some extent. But what they mainly do is distract us from the important moral and cultural stories of the way these channels are warping our view of the world with their ideological and show biz priorities rather than any genuine commitment to news and information. But there are ratings, and then, there are ratings. And the October numbers that just came out offer a sobering snapshot of just how badly CNN's misadventures in programming are going -- even as they cheapen their news brand identity to try and find larger audiences.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | July 19, 2012
I know some of my more parochial colleagues can't get past the troubles CNN continues to have in its prime-time American operation. And I am right up there in being dismayed by some of the moves management has made with Eliot Spitzer, Kathleen Parker, Erin Burnett and Piers Morgan. But facts are facts, and CNN has a different business model than anybody else in the cable news business because of its overwhelming international infrastructure and reach. And Thursday it got some more good news on that front with an audience measurement survey that shows its dominance among news channels in Africa.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | July 6, 2011
As one media reporter who was genuinely concerned about the turn CNN seemed to be taking last year when it hired Eliot Spitzer, I am not going to try and hide how impressed and pleased I am with the lineup the cable news network announced today. Yes, I am happy that Spitzer is gone. I thought his presence threatened the credibility and trust that CNN had built over the years through the hard and principled work of its journalists. But I am also encouraged about the future of CNN shown by its clear commitment to journalists like John King and Wolf Blitzer.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | October 5, 2011
I promised myself I was going to give CNN's new weeknight host Erin Burnett a full week of shows before I reviewed her. It was hard keeping that promise Monday night when I saw her pay a visit to the Occupy Wall Street encampment so she could look down her nose and mock the folks there. I thought it downright cruel the way she and her producer cut one kid from the herd and then tried to make him look like a fool. This was cool kids mocking outsiders on the playground, and it made me angry.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | July 6, 2011
As one media reporter who was genuinely concerned about the turn CNN seemed to be taking last year when it hired Eliot Spitzer, I am not going to try and hide how impressed and pleased I am with the lineup the cable news network announced today. Yes, I am happy that Spitzer is gone. I thought his presence threatened the credibility and trust that CNN had built over the years through the hard and principled work of its journalists. But I am also encouraged about the future of CNN shown by its clear commitment to journalists like John King and Wolf Blitzer.
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