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Monday, March 26, 2012

CNN News Programming Grades as of 3/26/12

These are my grades of the weekday programming on CNN, the network I go to for news.

Erin Burnett OutFront-98%(A+)
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer-95%(A)
CNN Newsroom(as a whole, 9 AM-4 PM)-95%(A)
Anderson Cooper 360-91%(A-)
John King USA-90%(A-)
Starting Point-81%(B-)
Piers Morgan Tonight-79%(C+)
Early Start-51%(F)

My notes on the grading of the 8 shows.

1. This show continues to reign as the top show on CNN. Recently, Burnett gained publicity for decrying the war on women in both parties. At first, I was inclined to be dismissive about it. After actually watching the segment, I can say she made her points clearly and coherently, and I agreed with her. Erin Burnett's a great journalist, without question, and the show is poised for international acclaim.

2. "The Situation Room" continues to be the one-stop-shop for news and Opinion. Wolf, however, is still trying to hit the 21st century sprinting. He tries talking up things of the modern day, but it just sounds so deadpan in the delivery. Kinda like Larry Kudlow's shouting at Jim Cramer at the end of "Mad Money." What will he do next? Don a hoodie for Trayvon Martin? Yeah, that should go over well. Like a cat in a sweater.

3. I freely admit to only watching when Brooke Baldwin(my favorite) is on, but what I do watch of her show, plus tidbits of the other shows, is quality news programming, nonetheless. Decked out with reporters/anchors who ask the tough questions, there's a reason these shows are the big ratings draw on CNN. And Brooke and her show are just amazing!

4. Don't watch him much. Haven't heard of any "Starting Point"-style scandals, so that's good. He's no doubt been all over the Trayvon Martin case in recent days, as someone of his caliber should be. AC360 holds steady, grading-wise.

5. King's show remains a quality news show, though not a ratings draw by any means. He and his sidekick Kate Bolduan continue to deliver the news we need to know as it happens. One recommendation: Since John King and Dana Bash are going their own ways, she needs to stop appearing on shows he anchors. Avoid the cringe-fests at all costs! CBS had rules opposing this kind of practice back in the days of Edward R. Murrow. Why should we not prohibit this practice today?

6. Now that the fallout from "Race-gate" has subsided, we can get back to reviewing the show on its own merits. I've not watched it lately, so I cannot say for certain whether they've improved. Let's just say their avoiding controversy for this short space in time is a plus.

7. Had the opportunity to, in between watching weeks-old airings of CNN Newsroom, see Piers Morgan's end of-show "editorial" regarding the issues on his mind. Pretty good, I must say. His show has improved, going from straight-up entertainment to a blend of entertainment, news, and opinion. Like Anderson Cooper plus the accent. This show(and, for that matter, OutFront) will continue to be a fixture on the CNN Primetime scene, even after Cooper is canned.

8. Wow, I thought Ashleigh Banfield was bad. I recently got the chance to watch Zorabia Sambolin's interview with Joe the Plumber, and GOD is she awful. An ambush reporter in its worst form, she wouldn't let him get a word in. What king of reporting is that? These shallow fools are a disgrace to CNN and journalism as a whole. "Early Start" sucks. Period. End. Of. Story.

Some other musings:

1. I take to my absolute favorite CNN female talents the way die-hard Led Zeppelin fans take to "Stairway to Heaven."

2. Lizzie O'Leary's usage of literal fairy tales to explain HCR is about as comical as Tom Foreman's Virtual Convention.

3. Wanna know how I knew Brooke wouldn't be on CNN today(3/26)? She didn't tweet today. She doesn't tweet much on days she's not on.

4. (Tweeted 3/25)I'm just elated that UNC beat OH. Brooke doing a cheerlead tomorrow for OH would have epitomized a "Hazards of Live TV" moment. Not that I wouldn't have found humour in it. I'm just looking out for the ratings. Some people just don't go for that. Not on par with Erin Burnett's "I'll Stop the World and Flick With You(or whatever the hell that was)" moment, but still...

5. (Tweeted 3/24, night of the LA Primary)Tom Foreman is on. Another virtual convention? Another journey to the center of his mind?

6. Have to say I prefer "John King USA" when John King is on.

7. Back in '08, Ben Stein said we weren't in a recession. Why should I listen to him? At least Brooke didn't ask him to say "Bueller, Bueller."

8. (Tweeted 3/24)Yuck! Don Lemon's trying to be Brooke Bakdwin. "Come on, you know you have." Have what? Thrown the remote through the TV? Yes, I just did. CNN's got the worst substitute anchors of any network. I can count only 3 or 4 that ever did a decent job.

9. (Tweeted 3/20, night of the IL Primary)Why's everybody not congregated at the CNN Center in Atlanta?

10. She's a great journalist(and nothing can change my view there), but the more I see of Erin Burnett, the less I like her.

11. Jimmy Carville is a "great Western Philosopher?" Could've fooled me.

12. I'm spectacularly amused at the Mediaite commentor who called the fellow, who called Erin Burnett a "little lady," a "little boy." +1! Little boys ain't got no influence over nothin'!

13. On 3/8, OutFront did a segment on...rap music! Jesus Christ, guys, stay on course. You're becoming more popular. There is no room for error!

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