Alvarado: CNN’s Panels Are Not Journalism

By Andrea Alvarado

Since the election of Donald Trump, it appears as if CNN has acquired the nation’s title of “Public Enemy No. 1.” Although the news channel did not portray Trump in a favorable light during his presidential campaign, CNN exploited his antics in order to boost their ratings, without realizing how this decision might contribute to his election. The news channel has now become the epitome of “the biased liberal media” Trump and his minions use as an argument against the media for every occasion his administration is criticized. Nevertheless, CNN has been digging its own grave for years.

The impression that CNN is “hungry for ratings” is not new to this administration, but the quality of its journalism has certainly declined since the introduction of infamous panels of experts. The news channel seems to put together these discussions around any topic possible. More than evidencing the producers’ lack of innovation and sheer laziness, these panels are the least effective method to inform the public and provide fresh viewpoints. In their majority, the panels are filled with screeching “experts” and “analysts” that give the sense of being more ignorant about the topic than the viewers. Arguments turn rapidly into a cacophony of insults and ridiculous claims. Moreover, the panelists seem to be striving for the most shocking statement in order to garner their 15 minutes of internet fame. Not only do these panels reap GIFs and memes that go viral online, but they also turn the hosts into jokes. Most of the moderators were serious and respected journalists, but now they will never be able to recover from being associated with these clown shows.

Just as the hosts, CNN has become a shadow of its former self. The channel seems to be resembling more a talk show or a product of reality TV than a serious news outlet. The producers are creating content for entertainment. CNN is giving voice to professional liars and internet trolls just for the sake of higher ratings. And unfortunately, it seems as if any kind of publicity is good publicity for not only their guests but the channel itself. CNN’s programming has become a circus — an imitation of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” or “Dr. Phil,” with politics as the main topic. There is no substance in their content, just a tabloid version of politics.

I do not think CNN or its producers have any intention of regaining the trust of the American public because they can still profit from their “Jerry Springer Show” format. However, it is the credibility of journalism that continues to be chipped away with every CNN panel. News channels are acquiring the same connotation celebrity gossip as they emphasize and discuss the salacious details of politicians’ personal lives. The facts are preceded by “allegedly,” even if proven true because CNN has made no attempts to inform the viewers of the difference between solid reality and “alternative facts.” Shows continue to give a platform to people who spew lies and create controversies on prime time. CNN might not be beating MSNBC and Fox News when it comes to ratings, but it is doing incredibly well for “Public Enemy No. 1,” which had its second-best August in the history of the channel. The only real victims in this story are the journalists across the U.S. whose credibility persists to be questioned.

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