As the Beatles sang years ago, It’s getting better all the time.
Forget about this Sunday's Super Bowl, sports fans. World War III in the arena of cable news is raging on, and the players have started taking prisoners.
As NewsBusters reported here and here, the most recent escalation between heavyweight Fox News and steadily becoming also-ran CNN started when the former took out an ad in Television Week magazine describing Anderson Cooper as “the Paris Hilton of television news.” This was actually a promotion for Fox News’s “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren.
RATINGS-challenged CNN is flipping out over a taunting Fox News Channel ad that cattily compares the also-ran cable network's dapper newsman Anderson Cooper to Paris Hilton.
In a big spread in Television Week magazine, Fox, which regularly trounces CNN in viewership, has a shot of Cooper from behind posing for a team of paparazzi who are frantically snapping his picture. "Meet the Paris Hilton of Television News," the ad crows. It then accuses the silver-maned talking head of being a "media darling" who's the product of "endless hype," but is really all "style over substance."
The ad also claims CNN has shelled out "tens of millions of dollars in advertising" to put Cooper on the map, "and he still gets beaten every night by 'On the Record With Greta Van Susteren' - the No. 1 show at 10 p.m." But don't expect CNN to take the insulting swipe sitting down. "They are preparing their answer to the Fox ad and you can expect something next week . . . It's war," a CNN insider told Page Six.
Dontcha love it? Shall I wait for you to get some Goobers and Raisinets from the snack bar before I continue? Ga ‘head...we’ll wait:
A CNN flack called Fox's ad an "act of desperation because Greta's audience has been eroding and 'Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees' is getting closer. This is a sign they are starting to panic." The rep also denied CNN had spent tens of millions to hype Cooper, but wouldn't say what it has doled out.
Fox countered that Van Susteren's show was the fifth-highest rated program in cable news while Cooper was a distant 17th. One executive at Fox - owned by News Corp., which also owns The Post - told us, "Obviously, we hit a nerve for them to overreact to this degree. Is this what they came up with while they were sunning themselves at the Atlantis?"
The Fox exec was referring the [sic] lavish trip to the Bahamas that 100 CNN suits enjoyed last month - much to the chagrin of network rank-and-file during the week when CNN suffered a jolting third-place finish among cable-news channels in coverage of the State of the Union Address.
I love the smell of celluloid in the morning. Smells like…news networks fighting over cable domination.