Alito Hearings: Do The Situation Room’s Six Screens Make CNN “Nearly Un-Watchable?”

By Brian 

Is The Situation Room starting to turn off viewers? As David Hinckley writes in today’s NY Daily News, the cable news nets have been “reduced to tricks like seeing how many boxes they could divide the screen into” during coverage of the Alito hearings. (“CNN won that competition, with six.“)

He continues: “In the standard style of cable news networks, CNN also crammed four to six other pieces of information onto the bottom of the screen, which made focusing on Alito a challenge akin to finding your buddy’s car in the Meadowlands parking lot.”

Here’s how a TV EP put it in an e-mail to TVNewser yesterday: “CNN’s blind devotion to their 6-monitor Situation Room-style presentation is making the Alito hearings nearly un-watchable. Moments of high political drama are equated visually to a static shot of the Supreme Court and the Capitol? Paging Jon Klein…”

After reading that MSNBC beat CNN (barely) in the 25-54 demo on Monday, several e-mailers surmised that viewers don’t want to watch six monitors for hours on end.

“I can tell you that I finally got sick of trying to see the ENTIRE hearing through the tiny screens of The Situation Room,” one person wrote. “Since it was the same event everywhere, I started watching the other channels. CNN needs to understand that watching a package or interview with a split-screen is one thing, but watching an ENTIRE multi-hour hearing on six screens is really annoying.”