January 13, 2005

Pray Tell, What Is an Emo-Anchor?

CNN's new President, Jonathan Klein, moving the network towards the brave new world of "emo-anchors" and news-readers metamorphosing into poets:

Invigorated by CNN’s coverage of the tsunami disaster, Mr. Klein dissolved the network’s trademark political talk show, Crossfire, while proclaiming a healthy future for "storytelling"—old-fashioned news, soaped up with reality-TV drama and delivered by emo-anchors like Anderson Cooper, the gray-ghost newsman who is becoming the embodiment of the new CNN. It seemed to be Mr. Cooper that Mr. Klein considered the exemplar of what CNN now stood for: a reality-TV "authenticity," with human dimensions, rather than the stentorian, scripted authority of the network era...Anchor-poet Aaron Brown’s first-person commentary seemed to be another model of the kind, with Mr. Klein describing his reporting on the tsunami as having "almost reached the level of literature." [emphasis added]

You can't make this stuff up. For my (and my commenters) take on literary lion/poet Aaron--go here.

The dumbing down of CNN domestic (CNN international remains tolerable) is truly staggering. The hoisting up of anchors uber-theatrically rippling forth with fake notions of Heideggerian authenticity is risible and part of the problem, of course. So is the conceit that reading the news has anything to do with literature or poetry. Do media executives really believe the American people have become so dumb so that they might, with credulity, imbibe such nakedly self-aggrandizing B.S.? But Klein is feeling cocksure, it seems, what with his snotty put-downs of the blogosphere:

I don’t think that blogging, which is, you know, glorified Web-site hosting—that’s what it is. I had a blog for a while, but I just didn’t have time," he said. "I don’t think that blogs topple news organizations because of the difficulty of sifting through reliable information and mere opinion. But they certainly have arrived on the scene as a player."

If blogging is "glorified Web-site hosting"--what is "emo-anchoring" or absurd pretenses to poetry from the anchor seat? A farce. And a sad testament to the era of reality television and 'interactivity' clumsily forcing itself into the cable news space--so that the President of CNN would deem it important to tell the NYO that Anderson Cooper "felt the tsunami story in his bones, not as a journalist even. It wasn’t a professional curiosity he had, it was a human connection to the suffering. He’s that kind of guy. And you saw it from the anchor chair, which I’ve never seen before, because usually those lights and makeup add a layer of filtration."

Sorry, but who the F cares whether Anderson Cooper felt the tsunami disaster "in his bones"? Perhaps, eventually, 300,000 dead in this massive tragedy and this is what Jon Klein finds memorable and worth discoursing about vis-a-vis his networks's coverage of the story? Makeup and an extra "layer of filtration", alas, too often keeping the "emo" out of the anchoring? This is truly the triumph of imbecility, solipsism, extreme self-importance and indulgence. Welcome to the new CNN.

Posted by Gregory at January 13, 2005 02:37 AM

The "imbecility, solipsism, extreme self-importance and indulgence" are not new. They have been there all along, since the emergence of mass news media (these words are about as good as description for example of William Randolph Hearst as anyone could put together).

We are just now seeing them stripped naked in real time, exposed by the blogs. And a good thing, too.

Posted by: ZF at January 13, 2005 03:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

CNN domestic is changing to try and compete with Fox News. CNN International, on the other hand, primarily competes with BBC World. Since I'm on the other side of the aisle the change in the relative quality of their reporting doesn't really surprise me...

Posted by: Ravi at January 13, 2005 05:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh, God. Someone needs to start a news network for smart people.

Posted by: praktike at January 13, 2005 02:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

For fast news, nothing beats Headline News. I can't stand regular CNN, and the whole Anderson Cooper thing is dumb.

I like BBC World, MSNBC. I never watch Fox.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 14, 2005 04:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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