CNN: The Gray Lady of Cable News

By Andrew Gauthier 

Vanity Fair

Jon Klein is an extremely affable broadcast-news executive, a chinos-and-Docksiders 52-year-old whom almost everybody in the TV-news business likes and believes is not only responsible for CNN’s ignominious ratings decline–it has lost in every prime-time slot for most of the last five years–but also for the collapse of broadcast journalism itself.

Among the inside-baseball television-news diaspora–network-news alums who have lost their jobs and been scattered as the television-news industry has been flattened–Klein and his stewardship of the network rise to a level not just of confounding mismanagement but of moral void in which the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity. In this example of the existential crisis of modern life, not only is CNN being beaten year after year by Fox, but its precisely its well-intentioned earnestness that is responsible for the rise of ideological television. More…