Loyalty, Jon Klein

Did anyone see “The Daily Show” on Monday night? Rob Corrdry filed a report from the White House where he was dazzled by all the fun new initiatives sprung this week. Alito nomination! Yaay! Scooter who? Jon tried to get Rob back on track, but then Rob got distracted by a big shiny ball of tinfoil on the White House lawn. Whee! Shiny! Pretty! Dazzling!

That, to me, is Jon Klein‘s problem. It’s been two months — just two months — since Anderson’s breakout role in Hurricane Katrina, and one month since the uncomfortable NewsNight duo became permanent. Jon Klein saw Anderson and his silvery hair glinting in the post-Katrina spotlight, and he jumped at it as surely as Rob Corrdry on the fake White House lawn. It wasn’t enough to work on shoring up 360, expanding Anderson’s viewership, building his fan base on the web. Oh, no — Klein needed to show the world that he had vision, had the vision, for CNN. I repeat, we’ve seen data on what an Anderson-ful NewsNight looks like — yes, Jon Klein, congratulations — but have we seen any data on what a Brown-less NewsNight would look like? As one FB reader says: “All I know is my dad’s gonna be really disappointed. He’s grown to like Aaron a lot.”

That’s because Aaron Brown is likeable, and has earned the viewers who tune into NewsNight over years of service. For CNN to destabilize his show and then unceremoniously shove him out — because come on, that’s precisely what happened — is pretty damn disrespectful. And totally wasteful — on a 24-hour network in a 24-hour news cycle, a truly visionary leader would have realized the value in keeping them both. But it’s hard to have vision with pretty tinfoil sparkling in your face. Too bad Jon Klein’s loyalty is blind, too.

From Klein’s memo to CNN staff: “We cannot thank Aaron enough for the skills and professionalism he brought to CNN.”

No, Jon Klein. Clearly, you can’t.

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