CNN President Bashes Fox News and Successful Competitors

Isn't it often the case that over-confident braggarts are typically insecure types masking their own short-comings with undeservingly cocky bravado?

After all, one would think the president of the cable news network whose ratings in virtually every time slot have plummeted for years would be a little humble when referring to his competition in the industry.

Quite the contrary, in an interview with the New York Observer, CNN's Jonathan Klein behaved like he was running the Yankees, and Fox News Channel was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (emphasis added throughout):

[CNN] continues to chase Fox News in across-the-board ratings, and at the same time must fend off MSNBC, which so far has enjoyed a 20 percent jump in total year-to-date viewers over last year-thanks in part to the popularity of its late-night "doc block," which often features grisly true-crime narratives and repurposed Dateline programming.

"When they do that, they're really competing with Court TV," Mr. Klein later told NYTV in an interview in his office overlooking Columbus Circle. "They're saying, in effect, we give up trying to cover the news in any meaningful way. It enhances our brand. We're the last man standing in terms of covering the news. We love that."

Yeah, Jon. You love that, especially as MSNBC in 2007 has gained ground against your network in the ratings battle.

But that was just one example of a kid flexing his muscles on a playground:

In his newsroom talk, Mr. Klein addressed the biggest challenge facing his channel-namely, its long underperforming 8 p.m. slot, which regularly gets trounced by FNC's Bill O'Reilly and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

Mr. Klein suggested that Campbell Brown's new 8 p.m. show, set to debut in February, would compete by being "more talk-oriented," by featuring fewer "formal pieces," and by on occasion capitalizing on Ms. Brown's sometimes-comic sensibility towards the news, à la Comedy's Central The Daily Show. "Jon Stewart should not corner the market on innovative uses of tape," said Mr. Klein. "He wishes he had access to the amount of material we get in every day."

Yes, and Campbell Brown wishes she had Stewart's fabulous sense of comedic timing. But I digress:

He also laid out some goals for 2008, telling staffers that in the coming year he was aiming for CNN to significantly boost its morning ratings, to win the 10 p.m. prime time hour, where Anderson Cooper currently trails Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, and to establish CNN as the go-to destination when "people think about watching politics."

Keep flexing those muscles, Jon. I'm sure the folks at FNC and MSNBC are running home to their mommies in mortal terror.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.