CNN, which has been in a downward ratings spiral in the last year, received some unsolicited advice from one of its hosts, Piers Morgan, on what the network needs to get back on track. Morgan said the network could use a little more sizzle:
When there’s no news for sustained periods of time, CNN tends to deflate as a network. There’s a lot of internal debate going on about tone and opinion. I’ve been given more license to express my opinion. We need to be livelier, more provocative, more opinionated. I know we can be more opinionated without being partisan.
Morgan was quoted in an article on CNN in the Los Angeles Times.
The network has sat idly by while cable news rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC have created programming filled with news and opinion, and watched their ratings soar past CNN’s.
Salon’s Jacob Weisberg told the Times, for that same article, that CNN needs “to fire most of their people and start over.” That is similar to what I have been advocating for most of the last year, as it became apparent that their programs were never going to be competitive with Fox News or MSNBC.
One person who disagrees with Morgan’s assessment is CNN’s Washington bureau chief Sam Feist, who said that he didn’t think “most Americans want to be told how to vote.”
That’s true to an extent, but the success of Fox News and to a lesser extent, MSNBC, is largely due to the fact that they give their viewers what they want to see and hear, and that’s news and views with an edge and an opinion. And that, as Morgan pointed out, is something that CNN lacks.
Morgan doesn’t have a solution, like Weisberg does, but he did say that fixing CNN isn’t rocket science and that the problems are “bleeding obvious.”
It may be “bleeding obvious” to Morgan, but obviously it isn’t to CNN’s management.