CNN and Fox News Are Not in the Same Business



I really hate it when people think there is some comparison between CNN and Fox News.

This pet peeve of mine stems from the fact that I remember what CNN used to be because I watched it in the mid-1980s and enjoyed what they did. I became a news junkie primarily because CNN was in the news business and did a great job of making the news interesting and worthwhile. It was never something that you would use exclusively; CNN and the networks and the newspapers and the magazines added up to a much richer variety of sources for news.

But CNN never got into the news business to present "liberal" news. That's a fallacy. CNN got into the news business because there were no 24-hour news channels on cable television. Fox News was created so that this myth about a "liberal" bias in news could continue to be spread around like manure. But, really, it was the idea of Rupert Murdoch to bring to the United States what he had been doing in the Australian and British media, and his idea was to spread his ideology through his businesses and ram conservatism down the throats of people. Even with all of that laid bare in the British hearings on his dealings, Americans are still unaware of how insidious this really is.

CNN is about information; Fox News is about advocacy. They are not in the same business. Putting the numbers up and trying to say that Fox News has a better business model is misleading. How much accuracy is in the information transmitted to the public by each network? If you're trying to compare news and talk programs to ideologically slanted programs, you're not comparing anything that is equal in scope.

It is not CNN's fault that the American people refuse to be informed. It's merely the end of their business model. As CNN goes, so goes the decline of the three network news programs that, somehow, cling to life.

MSNBC is certainly trying to compete with Fox News in the same business, but NBC is responsible for the fact that MSNBC has to compete with one hand and two legs tied behind its collective back. At the corporate level, Fox News is encouraged to show bias and lie to viewers. NBC, on the other hand, frets over the liberal content of MSNBC and censors them, heavily. Don't believe me? Ask Phil Donahue, Ashleigh Banfield, and Keith Olbermann what they think.

And, really, it all comes down to Olbermann. If CNN gave Olbermann an hour in prime time, and let him do what he does, he'd clean up in the demographics (Fox News has great ratings, but lousy demographics because they attract older, less affluent viewers).

Olbermann will never get that chance. The only "opinion" we allow in America to be broadcast, uncensored and with the full approval of corporate management is a conservative one. Liberal opinion is not allowed to flourish.

So, what can fix CNN? Well, if the American people were to suddenly become interested in actual information, that might help. But Americans don't want information. They want advocacy, entertainment, and nothing else.