What happened to CNN?

(I am going to date myself a bit here.)

In 1991, I sat glued to the television watching Bernie Shaw and Peter Arnett broadcast from a hotel room in Baghdad while the city was being bombed. At that moment, I thought CNN was the most incredible thing that had happened in my entire life. Time magazine went on to name Ted Turner Person of the Year, in no small part because of that broadcast.

This weekend, I am traveling. Cairo is burning. In an extremely high-stakes gamble, the Egyptian government has disconnected the cellular phone network and the Internet.

At noon EST, I stopped at a sandwich shop where the television was tuned to CNN Headline News. Eager for information, I sat down to watch.

Now mind you, this was noon, on the hour exactly. And what was CNN covering? Three stories:

  1. Charlie Sheen
  2. The 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion
  3. An ape at a zoo in Virginia that walks on two legs

It took me a few minutes to realize my mouth was stuck open. Seriously. What?

And of course, all of the anchoresses were young busty blondes. Maybe I should blame Fox News, but that is too easy. I think the blame belongs to my entire society.

On the bright side, this strengthens my pet theory that Network will go down in history as the greatest film of the latter half of the 20th century.

Well, at least the U.S. news networks are carrying the story now. Except their images are just footage running in a loop, and the analysis is insipid.

Apparently, to get decent news these days I have to watch Al Jazeera. I wish I were joking.

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