Lots of changes took place at CNN after Jeff Zucker grabbed the reins in late 2012, changing much of the on-air talent, the programming and, perhaps most memorably, stating that the network will be doing less actual news.
But on a couple noteworthy moments from some of the faces at CNN that took place this week — Don Lemon got in a public war of words with Fox News’s Gregg Jarrett and Chris Cuomo dismissed the interviewing style of “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart — Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast raises some questions:
Could it be that the CNN-ers were tearing a page out of Keith Olbermann’s dog-eared playbook, wherein the former MSNBC anchor tried to attract attention and increase his viewership by abusing Bill O’Reilly, his prime-time Fox News competitor who was getting four times Olbermann’s ratings? (In Keith’s case, he was amply rewarded, as “Bill-O The Clown” couldn’t help but fire back.) Or, just as plausible, is there zero method to their madness? Are they, as Lemon described himself, simply “pissed”?
Or maybe, after three decades as the go-to network for breaking news, served up plain and hard, CNN is finally morphing into a typically hyper-partisan cable outlet. If Fox News appeals to Republicans and MSNBC resonates to Democratic talking points, perhaps CNN is aspiring to claim the mantle of the Angry People’s Party, while attracting some buzz and, they might hope, a ratings boost.
To be sure, some of CNN’s talent or former talent, like Soledad O’Brien and Lemon since he came out in 2011, have standing reputations for getting into confrontations with their guests and generally making news for their on-air comments.
But throwing out bombs at their professional peers? That’s new.