Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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Aaron Brown is on vacation this week from his CNN news show "Newsnight." He won't be coming back. His bosses have decided to replace him with Anderson Cooper. He received a call from his boss with the good news while vacationing.
Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/U.S., said today that he and Mr. Brown had mutually agreed that Mr. Brown would leave the cable news network because the new CNN lineup left "no options" for a program that would include Mr. Brown. "It is, unfortunately, a zero-sum game," Mr. Klein said.
We have no complaint about Anderson Cooper. He seems to do his job and he has the glitzy personality that goes with newstainment. Aaron Brown was more straightforward with a sardonic air that pretty well marked what was real news and what was audience-appeal pap. For people who want real news, as Ted Turner once produced it, Aaron Brown was a relief from the cutesy pie inanities that often clutter the CNN air waves.
Media-mind Klein explained it forthrightly. "Newsnight" numbers went up when Anderson Cooper joined the show with Brown. And getting those audience numbers up is the name of the game. News and how it is presented is incidental to the sensational and smarmy, and CNN is creeping a few steps closer to Faux News in its zeal.
This wouldn't be disturbing, except that people who want news done by real news professionals, instead of self-preening fops, are finding it increasingly difficult to find well-reported, well-written news. With the constant threat of pulling funds and people from public broadcasting, there is no pure news source that can be relied upon. We saw what happened when the media minds came into National Public Radio and dumped Bob Edward, who started Morning Edition and anchored it for a couple of decades. It was a show that we could rely upon for totally professional news and no vapid chatter that compromises most of what is excreted as news on the airways.
It is not merely that Aaron Brown is leaving; it's that he is being dumped in a hugely public demonstration that human life and talent is ultimately expendable. Putting together news shows that present real news instead of marketable personalities is simply not on the agenda. News networks shove talent into the cold with the same aplomb that the German cost accountants of the 1930s shoved the halt and feeble into the Zyklon ovens. Life, after all, is a matter of bottom lines.
Ted Turner, where are you when we really need you? The damned bean counters have taken over again.