The dismantling of CNN

It is one thing to hear about old media slashing budgets and tossing good people to the curb like yesterday’s garbage but it is another to watch as a major news organization seems to be dismantling itself before our eyes. For those of you that don’t really pay attention to the ins and outs of what old media does this probably won’t be of any interest. For those social media mavens who glibly trumpet every failing of old media this is probably old news.

But I have been watching a number of blogs since I first posted here at The Inquisitr about the departure of Miles O’Brien from CNN; and the dismantling of the science technology news section by the company. Since that report there has been a steady stream of news about journalists – excellent and reputable journalists either leaving or being dumped. Sure there has also been the regular staff type departures but when you start seeming names like Jamie McIntyre, Jennifer Eccleston and Kelli Arena to name just a few you have to wonder what the hell is going on.

When you look at any of the bio’s of those leaving and realize the depth of their contacts developed over years of building trust it makes one shake their head in amazement. Journalist’s like these people don’t just happen over night. Kelli Arena spent the better part of her career at CNN building a network of trust at the Justice Department. That isn’t something you can replace overnight. The same with Jamie McIntyre with his stint at the Pentagon or Miles with NASA and other science agencies.

In one brief period CNN has strip itself of its top tier of journalists leaving us with the likes of Nancy Grace; who’d I’d like to take out back and leave her there. Then there is Wolf Blitzer who hasn’t seen a politician yet whose ass he wouldn’t kiss for a story – if you can call his reports that. As Jackie Schechner; an ex-CNN’er, said in a post about Kellie Arena leaving

Put aside the fact there is no better-connected Justice Correspondent on the planet and you can kiss your early access to important national security news goodbye, no woman knows the ins and outs of CNN and the business of TV news like Kelli Arena.

Not one to mince words Greta Van Susteren; who got her TV start on CNN, had this to say on her blog Greta Wire

They did it again! CNN fires people just in time for Christmas! Make you sick?

People often ask why I left CNN…..I didn’t like management. I liked my colleagues in the news gathering but the corporate culture that seized management when AOL came in (Steve Case and Gerry Levin) was disgusting. Everything changed. Don’t get me wrong – I like corporate organization and a corporation should make money – what I don’t like is a mean spirited selfish management that, despite not doing its job of efficiently running the company, lines it pockets. And then the topper? because the management didn’t run the company well, CNN fires loyal people to meet some bottom line the management failed to meet. Blame the little guy not the way the company is run? Go figure! Well….CNN management did not disappoint me yesterday…meaning, it met my low expectations.

All this comes on the heels of Jonathan Klein being quoted in a article at the Observer as saying

“We can afford more people on our air and off our air. So, goddamn it, we’re going to have more people.”

One has to ask at what cost though. CNN, while it likes to brand itself as the most reputable voice in news it is in many ways becoming a laughing stock of news. On either side of the political spectrum you will find pundits taking swipes at the organization that seems more interested in faux holograms than in keeping well respected journalists doing their jobs.

Old media across the board is having a harder and harder time staying relevant in the growing Internet and social media world. It doesn’t help itself when organizations like CNN keep allowing over paid incompetent executive like Mr. Klein keep shooting itself in the foot.