CNN's 'Hologram' Toy Gets Panned by CNET News

CNN has a wonderful new toy that they seem to love playing around with. It's called a "hologram." I put "hologram" in quotes because according to an annoyed Don Reisinger of CNET News, it's not really a hologram. You can get an idea of just how upset Reisinger was with the CNN "hologram" by the very title of his CNET story, "Stop the Insanity: CNN's 'hologram' was horrendous."

Can someone please explain to me why so many people are making a big deal about this CNN "hologram" that the channel unveiled during election coverage Tuesday night?

See, Don, CNN found a new toy that they are going to play with while pretending to deliver the news.

According to CNN, it was real "hologram" technology that beamed Jessica Yellin, a CNN correspondent from Chicago, to the CNN press center in New York, where Wolf Blitzer could grill her about what was going on in Chicago.

First off, let me say that it wasn't even real "hologram" technology, which annoys me from the start. Don't say it's a "hologram" technology unless it really is. If CNN was truly using a "hologram," it would not have employed a green screen and overlay images. Instead, it would have captured scattered light and then reconstructed it back in the studio.

Oh, and it probably would have bankrupted CNN too.

Bankrupting CNN? And that would be a bad thing?

But I digress. Everywhere I turn, someone is saying how "cool" CNN's so-called "hologram" was. Uh, no.

Allow me to explain something to those who probably also get excited about buying a new hammer or watching a new Starbucks open up in their neighborhood: the "hologram" technique made the show look shoddy and stupid, and made Ms. Yellin look like a well-designed video game character.

I've got news for you, Don. Most CNN shows already look shoddy and stupid. 

Now, I know what you're saying: "But Don, you see, by using its 'hologram,' CNN is embracing technology and taking news reporting one step further."

Sorry, but I think that if you believe that, it's time for you to stop drinking Wolf Blitzer's Kool-Aid.

Nothing about the CNN "hologram" made sense. Part of the value of sending reporters to different areas to cover what's going on is to allow viewers to look beyond the onscreen reporter, and see the raucous environment. And it also affords the reporter the opportunity to walk around and show viewers some of the visual highlights at the event.

But with the help of its "hologram," CNN destroyed the value in sending a reporter, and instead made it, in the paraphrased words of Wolf Blitzer, "a more intimate setting" for the interview that eliminated all the noisy people that would have been standing behind her.

Spoken like a true apologist.

Just because the idea of a "hologram" is interesting, it doesn't mean that every time that someone pretends to use one, we have to think that it's the greatest thing in the world. The "hologram" looked ugly, made Ms. Yellin look awkward, and it didn't provide any real value to the viewer.

Your humble correspondent interrupts to pose a legal question. All through that interchange between Wolf Blitzer and Yellin the "Hologram," I kept hoping that Wolf would do something really cool like sticking his arm into the "hologram" or tossing a Dixie cup through it. So my question is, could it be considered sexual harrassment to do that to a "hologram?" I will await an answer from the legal scholars.

I applaud CNN for at least trying something new. But if show producers are smart, they'll shelve their "hologram" idea, and move on to something bigger and better, like transporting Ms. Yellin back and forth between Chicago and New York next time. I think that'll keep them busy for a while, and help us enjoy some quality programming, while they're trying to figure out how to reconstruct atoms.

I know the idea of a "hologram" is alluring to some. But let's not allow our hopes for the future cloud our judgment.

CNN's "hologram" was dumb.

Apparently the readers of this CNET story thought the CNN "hologram" was dumb too as you can see by their comments:

Thank you, Don, for the first reasonable answer behind this "hologram" nonsense. CNN should be slapped around for calling it a hologram in the first place, but more importantly for making such a big deal of it.

Thanks, Don. I've been saying this for a while but everyone seems to be impressed by shiny objects. These "holograms" are nothing more than chroma key + the NFL "1st down" tracker. i.e. green screen over lay combined with an angle of viewing calculation to display the proper camera.

You can't blame CNN for trying. They've been falling behind Fox News in ratings and MSNBC in production quality for years.

CNN stop outsourcing American jobs to holograms!

Perhaps CNN will someday have the technology to beam real holograms into our homes. So if ol' PJ wants the news delivered to him personally he just orders, say, a Petra Verkaik Playmate hologram to materialize in his very private computer room. Just lean over and whisper the latest news into my ear, Petra. It makes no difference what the news is. Hee! Hee! It can even be boring crop reports from North Dakota and...GOOD GRIEF!!! CNN, you sent a Helen Thomas hologram into my room by mistake!!! And I can't get rid of her because my hand goes right through her when I try to shove her out the door! AGGHHHHHH!!!! 

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.