Klein Blasts Fox, Sun Rises in East

On a television show last week, I was asked who in modern journalism I admire and I ended up giving a rather convoluted answer: I said I admired Jon Klein‘s vision for CNN, as distinct from actually admiring the work going on at CNN. It’s hard to listen to Klein in the abstract and not be impressed with what he wants to do with CNN and returning to it a hard news-gathering operation–but then nearly always it sets one up for disappointment when you actually turn on CNN. [See Room, The Situation, page 196-197]

In the latest incident of this disconnect, Klein, the president of CNN/US, took on the over-the-top Aruba coverage in a NYT article today–even as CNN Headline News continues to win ratings with Nancy Grace‘s over-the-top Natalee Hollaway coverage.

Aiming right at Fox News, Klein said: “There are an awful lot of things you can cover if you don’t have people tied up with this meaningless nonsense.” He went on to say that news has to stop “obsessing over this trivial stuff.”

Fox, of course, always gentle in its response, replied sweetly, “If Jon performed as well as he talks he wouldn’t have to explain his network’s dismal ratings.”

One other line stands out in the piece. In defense of Bob Costasdecision not to do an Aruba show last week, Klein said, “It’s important that we never have an anchor doing a story he does not believe in.” Makes you wonder whether anyone told Wolf Blitzer that prior to that day in the Situation Room where they reported three times on an Atlanta pipe burst….