CNN, You’re Wasting Our Time

Let’s get this out of the way first: the only reason you’re even on is that I’m in a Geneva hotel room and there aren’t many other English-language options.  I suppose I could turn on Fox News, but that mostly exists to frighten old people.  If I actually wanted news, I’d look online, where I can see a snapshot of multiple headlines at once and then delve as deeply into as many detailed news stories as I’d like in the time it would take you to do one report.

But you’re on, and you do claim to present news, so here’s what I expect: Who, What, Where, Why, How and When.  Those are the objective criteria that determine whether any particular report is useful.  You do not seem familiar with these concepts.  Oh, and also timeliness.  That’s what gives news the “news” part.

So here are the two reports I’ve just seen.  You’ve told me that some banks just got fined in the States and Great Britain for currency manipulation.  The report is all about the sizes of the fines.  What did the banks actually do?  No idea.  This part of the story does not interest you.  For future reference, that would have been the “Why” component of any successful news story.

Next, I’m viewing your report about China’s military expansion into the South China Sea.  You’ve entertainingly quoted several people on whether or not this violates international law.  What’s missing from this?  A report on whether the law is actually being violated.  That would be the What.  What might also be helpful is exactly Where, and as long as we’re at it maybe How, which would allow us to evaluate the issue and relative threat for ourselves.  For an example of what a useful report on this topic would look like, here’s a recent article in The Atlantic.

Oh, and you keep repeating the same reports over and over again, sometimes over multiple days.  That’s where you lose the “news” part of your news.

In short…actually, never mind.  You just did a report on David Letterman’s last show and it’s awesome.  It mostly consists of clips from his show, and it was a great show.  How can you go wrong with that?

Carry on.

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