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An Open Letter to CNN.com

without comments

Dear CNN.com:

Fuck you.

Maybe you think that what your viewers want to see when they come to your site in search of news is “Girl gang-raped at three years old.” Maybe you’ve got oodles of statistics saying that, yes, what your audience really, really wants to read about is some whackjob mother who put her toddler in the oven. Maybe you’ve held focus group tests which tell you that yeah, what people want is more news stories about little kids getting their heads eaten by bears.

But I don’t.

If it was only occasionally that I had to confront these Awful Horridness Happens to Children stories, I think I could likely deal with it, just ignore the stories, but the fact is: every time I visit your site, there’s an article from that category in your Top Stories list. You might as well have a Childhood Tragedy section linked in your navigation menu at the top of the page.

(As I was writing this letter, I went to your home page to see what kind of Awful Horridness Happens to Children article you’re featuring now, and currently it’s “Police: Man says he killed 4 kids.” Lovely, thanks.)

I have two little girls, and I worry enough about them, about the random unspeakable tragedies which could strike them, without having to be presented with “news” of the horrible things happening to other children each time I click that CNN.com link. Those stories don’t make me feel better about or more grateful for my own healthy kids, they don’t make me appreciate them any more than I already do; they only sicken me with grief for the parents and families of those poor kids.

So I’m done. I’ve deleted your site from my bookmarks and I’ve unsubscribed from the CNN Breaking News email I’ve been getting for the last five years. No more for me.

When the House and Senate passed that disgusting Torture OK! bill which fundamentally altered our values as a nation and pushed us that much closer to the fascist police state Bush & Co. have been working so hard to institute for the last few years, I had to dig to find any coverage of that event — I had to go into your Politics section, and it wasn’t even the top story there when I found it.

When a little girl died after a dental procedure? Top story, front page, baby.

Look, I understand, I do. It’s all about the ratings, the page views — you’ve got to deliver those numbers to the advertisers who pay your bills, just like most every other form of entertainment. (Make no mistake: you are an entertainment organization, not a news organization.) And it’s easier for your audience to digest tragedy befalls child than it is Constitution buggered, especially in bite-sized chunks.

But that’s not what I want out of my news. That tragedy doesn’t personally affect me or my family or my friends; the tragedies regularly occuring in Washington do. I want to be informed, to be educated, to be made to think about what’s going on in my country and my world… not to be bludgeoned with the Hammer of Isn’t It Horrible. Count me out.

Sincerely,
A Disgusted and Disgruntled Ex-Viewer


Written by Allen

October 6th, 2006 at 12:31 pm

Posted in Media,Politics

In other news, fire reported to be hot

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I haven’t actually clicked on the link to read the story, so I don’t know exactly who is being discussed here (nor, honestly, do I really care), but when I see a headline on CNN.com that says:

Report: Supermodel admits cocaine use

…I start to think it must be a really, really slow news cycle.

Written by Allen

September 17th, 2005 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Media

Mass (media) hysteria

with 3 comments

More reasons why I hate the American media: the hysterical exploitation that accompanies the sort of news coming out of London today. I present to you screenshots of four of the major news outlets in the U.S.; note the tone of the coverage and the photo choices designed to be as prurient as possible.




Now compare and contrast that coverage with the home page of the BBC–the major news organization in the city where the bombings took place.

And there you have one of the many very good reasons I decided not to become a journalist.

Written by Allen

July 7th, 2005 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Media,Politics