Friday, September 19, 2008

CNN TV: The Media’s Latest Target: the Media?

by Christina London

One guy dominated CNN’s airwaves this weekend. And no, his name wasn’t
Barack or John. It was all about Ike.

Last Saturday, CNN featured wall-to-wall hurricane coverage. Each time I
flipped to the station, I saw images of downed trees, high waters and
weather-beaten reporters. (This made it pretty difficult to critique
election coverage.) So I turned to an old standby: the Sunday morning
political talk shows.

Reliable Sources is a program that airs every Sunday at 10 a.m. ET on
CNN. Hosted by Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post, the show brings on a
panel of news people to sound off on how the media did covering this week
in politics. Honestly, until now, I wasn’t too familiar with Reliable
but I like the concept; considering CNN has to fill a 24-hour
news hole, I think it’s a fresh angle to take.

This week, Kurtz asked his guests two main questions:
(1) Did Charles Gibson grill Sarah Palin too hard?
(2) Did MSNBC make the right choice to remove Chris Matthews and Keith
Olbermann from Election Night coverage?

Let’s focus on the first.

Last week, ABC News scored the first television interview with GOP vice
presidential candidate Sarah Palin. After airing, critics complained that
anchor Charles Gibson was much too hard in his questioning of the Alaska
governor. Kurtz’s panel unanimously disagreed.

Sara Palin talks about God and war in ABC Interview

CNN Special Correspondent Frank Sesno went as far as to say that Gibson
actually let Palin off easy. At one point in the interview, Gibson asks
Palin about the “Bush Doctrine.” Palin clearly doesn’t understand
what Gibson means by this, and he calls her out on it. Sesno agrued Gibson
could have dug Palin an even deeper hole by asking follow-up questions, but
he didn’t. Gibson also asked Palin about her religious past and her role
as a mother/politician. The panel agreed that these issues were also fair

Overall, I enjoyed my Sunday morning with Kurtz and his “Reliable
Sources.” My only complaint would be the lack of variety in the panel.
While I understand these guests aren’t political pundits, they agreed on
virtually everything. The hour was full of journalism lingo and even inside
jokes, and I see how that could be a turn-off to viewers. I plan to tune-in
in the future to see how the panelist lineup changes from week to week.

Until next’re watching CNN.

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