CNN, the company that invented 24/7 cable news but now finds itself fighting for relevancy, should abandon it’s “View From Nowhere” model of telling viewers what’s important, Jay Rosen argues. Rather than try to compete with Fox and MSNBC as an ideological-driven outfit, though, CNN should instead re-invent the genre. He even has a prime-time lineup:
- 7 pm: Leave Jon King in prime time and rename his show Politics is Broken. It should be an outside-in show. Make it entirely about bringing into the conversation dominated by Beltway culture and Big Media people who are outsiders to Beltway culture and Big Media and who think the system is broken. No Bill Bennett, no Gloria Borger, no “Democratic strategists,” no Tucker Carlson. Do it in the name of balance. But in this case voices from the sphere of deviance balance the Washington consensus.
- 8 pm: Thunder on the Right. A news show hosted by an extremely well informed, free-thinking and rational liberal that mostly covers the conservative movement and Republican coalition… and where the majority of the guests (but not all) are right leaning. The television equivalent of the reporting Dave Wiegel does.
- 9 pm: Left Brained. Flip it. A news show hosted by an extremely well informed, free-thinking and rational conservative that mostly covers liberal thought and the tensions in the Democratic party…. and where the majority of the guests (but not all) are left leaning.
- 10 pm: Fact Check An accountability show with major crowdsourcing elements to find the dissemblers and cheaters. The week’s most outrageous lies, gimme-a-break distortions and significant misstatements with no requirement whatsoever to make it come out equal between the two parties on any given day, week, month, season, year or era. CNN’s answer to Jon Stewart.
- 11 pm.: Liberty or Death: World’s first news program from a libertarian perspective, with all the unpredictablity and mix-it-up moxie that libertarians at their best provide. Co-produced with Reason magazine.
I don’t know that I’d watch this. Then again, I’m not watching cable news these days. But this is indeed a more intriguing lineup than talk radio bloviating with video. The key would be finding show hosts who were sufficiently good interviewers that they could break through the talking points blather that guests come prepared to spew. Not booking people who tend to spew talking points would likewise be helpful.
Of course, Jay seems to be designing shows for intellectuals when the evidence seems to show that people are really after infotainment. The highest rated “news” shows are either red meat diatribes that reinforce the viewers’ prejudices about people who hold different political views or are smarmy satires that reinforce the viewers’ prejudices about people who hold different political views. There seems to be a pattern there.