CBS Evening News: A Murrow/Olbermann Makeover?

By Alissa Krinsky 

The Nation‘s Marvin Kitman would love to see the CBS Evening News revamped in the image of Edward R. Murrow. “What the evening news shows need is less ‘objectivity’ and more analysis,” Kitman writes. “The Murrow legend was built on his opinionated analyses”.

“In short, what CBS (and all the others) need is a new Ed Murrow. Good news! There’s already one out there,” Kitman continues, pointing to Keith Olbermann. Kitman says NBC execs gave Olbermann “the freedom to do the news his way, since they had nothing to lose. Nineteen other shows had already failed opposite The O’Reilly Factor since 1996. Countdown is now the highest-rated show on MSNBC, which doesn’t say much, as MSNBC is ratings-challenged. Still, his ratings in July were up 88 percent over last year.”

The Countdown format — combining news with opinion, hard news with fluff — is what had to be done to get viewers “to pay attention.” Kitman believes CBS should “go to an hour-long format” with a non-traditional focus. But, he says, it likely won’t happen: “Naturally, CBS won’t buy the Kitman Plan…And that’s the way it is.”