What is CNN? It’s the kind of place that will call an apple an apple, an ad campaign explains, not a banana. Which is to say: It is real news.
There is some truth to this. CNN employs many stellar journalists across a variety of topics. Last night, the network scored a sitdown with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It recently put on a captivating townhall with survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, FL. It outclasses other TV stations in breaking news situations.
But anyone who honestly engages with CNN frequently sees banana-like characteristics poke through. On most days, it’s argument-driven punditry that often contradicts the network’s own reporting, or otherwise confuses viewers. On others, it’s vapid and mind-numbing “analysis.” Take editor-at-large and frequently owned man Chris Cillizza’s blog this morning:
I won’t waste your time parsing the details of this content, which redefines triviality, other than pointing out that Cillizza actually tells on himself in his third graf: “On one level this is all dumb.” Good point. And yet the piece, which will surely get many thousands of clicks, was graced with the No. 2 story slot on the CNN.com homepage this morning.
This is a banana. Some people might try to tell you that it’s an apple. They might scream “apple, apple, apple,” over and over and over again. They might put APPLE in all caps. You might start even to believe that this is an apple. But it’s not. This is a banana. Is it what CNN actually craves?