11 October 2009

Cable News Wars Heats Up

CNN aired an ad in the South Florida market tonight with a voice-over by a woman calling herself "... a lifelong Democrat." In the spare ad, she states that she listens to CNN's Anderson Cooper (AC360) because she knows that he "... holds right-wing Republican Congressmen ..." accountable when they "lie." Nothing in the ad says anything about holding left-wing politicians who lie accountable. One comes away with the impression that CNN is now firmly a Democratic organ. The ad is not yet available on the Internet, but will be posted here when it is.

This ad seems to be part of a larger trend for the cable news networks to directly attack each other, head-to-head. Most recently, Fox News and CNN have gone after each other over coverage of the 9-12 (Tea Party) protest in Washington, D.C. on September 12. Both networks covered the protests fairly extensively (having spent part of the day going back and forth between the coverage, my own estimation was that while Fox spent more time and resources on the coverage, both networks covered the event extensively). Fox took out an ad stating that all of the major news networks, including CNN, missed covering the event altogether. Most of the other networks mentioned the event, but did little coverage, but CNN was incensed to be included among this group, and fired back with an ad and reporting directly accusing Fox of lying.

MSNBC aired an ad early in the year, attacking both CNN and Fox, implying that they both were distorting the facts, and siding with (by implication) the Bush Administration. Both networks fired back immediately.

It's difficult to know what to think of these tit-for-tat attacks between the networks, although it does seem clear that most news networks are increasingly turning to new interpretation rather than straight reporting. Once thing seems certain: the conflict is going to continue to heat up for now.

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