Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And here's Zurawik, the guy who has been calling CNN "our last, best hope for a real news and information channel on cable TV," thinking how impressed I am by Fox's commitment to covering the story and how disgusted I am by CNN.

Anderson Cooper, Kathy Griffin double down debasing CNN brand two nights straight - David Zurawik/Baltimore Sun

This isn't about politics. It's about a cable channel letting one of its highest visibility show hosts and its brand be debased -- not once but twice. First on New Year's Eve, and then again on Cooper's Tuesday night show. To me, the Tuesday night performance was even worse.

On New Year's Eve, when I saw Griffin first kiss Cooper's crotch -- and listened to all her shock-jock double-entendre crap surrounding it -- I had two thoughts:

First, Jeff Zucker can't take over fast enough at CNN, which seems to have utterly lost its grip with stuff like this.

And second, maybe Cooper's image is bulletproof, but how much of this silliness can he keep indulging before people start to say, "Hey, maybe this is who this guy really is - a giggling clown, not a newsman"?

So, why am I writing about it now if I made that vow on New Year's Eve not to?

Because Tuesday night, Cooper had Griffin back on his show, and the two acted like a couple of adolescents celebrating how naughty they had been the night before. And this went on a long, long time, with video highlights and Cooper letting Griffin plug her next junky special.

Meanwhile, on Fox News, first-string anchors, reporters and analysts were going all out on a holiday night trying to cover the fiscal cliff maneuverings in Washington.

Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer, Ed Henry -- they were all there covering a major news story on Fox News, while CNN brought us Anderson and Kathy up in a tree.

Kathy Griffin, Andrew Sullivan and Other Desperately Unfunny ‘Faggot’ Jokes - The Other McCain
Kathy Griffin Offers Fellatio to Anderson Cooper - Ace Of Spades
This Was CNN - Michael Walsh/PJM

No one should be surprised. CNN and indeed much of American journalism, has been heading this way since advent of the Snark Generation — Harvard-educated princelings who, having failed to land a writing job on The Simpsons, took their tiny little sacks of tricks into the mainstream media, spreading out from the late Spy magazine (which really was funny early in its run) to New York, Vanity Fair and even my old alma mater, Time magazine. In short order, gossip was elevated to the status of news, serious cultural journalism vanished in the what’s-hot-now haze and “attitude” supplanted judgment as a hallmark of distinction.