Wednesday, June 01, 2005

New home for world news on CNN

I'm encouraged to read that CNN will be doing a daily show compiled from its overseas affiliates. The midday slot mentioned here is hardly prime time, but it's probably realistic given American tastes. Let us hope the show helps broaden the view of the world that seems to prevail here.

As the LATimes headline This is CNN ... still settling on its voice suggests, the writer sees this new show as a sign of some casting about by the programming gurus in Atlanta. That may be, but I think the new show will be a worthwhile experiment. Remember that, during the first Gulf War, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, CNN efficiently telescoped the distance between America and the Middle East and brought the action (or a version of it) into everyone's living room. It was as effective as Ed Murrow's London broadcasts of the air raids in World War II in making us conscious of a distant reality. (I don't remember Murrow's radio days, but my parents spoke of them.)

One could wish that television were as effective with other news as it is with wars and tsunamis. Here will be the great challenge for CNN's new show. In the video culture that invented "If it bleeds, it leads," can cable news communicate without dramatic images and still hold an audience? I'll be hopefully watching.

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