Ah, CNN, when did you lose your way?
Let’s talk about Balloon Boy, shall we? First off, when the father of said child calls the local news outlet before he calls 911, your bullshit radar should start pinging. If I believe my child is in danger of falling out of a weather balloon, I don’t call Dave Roberts to ask for his help (unless, of course, he is going to send his son to offer a warm hug). When the child in question actually tells Larry King that his parents did it for “a show”, your bullshit radar should break and you should immediately stop covering the story. It wasn’t a story. It was a hoax and you completely and willingly bought into it to garner page views. Now, to cover your own ass, you have a lead story asking if it ok for local law enforcement to knowingly mislead. Mislead whom, exactly? The sheriff was pretty sure the parents created the situation and since they were the only ones with a vested interest in the health and welfare of the child, misleading the parents into providing enough information to uncover the truth seems like solid police work. Was the public misled into believing a child was actually in danger? Yes, but that is CNN’s own damn fault. You called a child who never actually set foot in a balloon the "Ballon Boy." Next time, do a little investigative journalism, try to uncover the actual facts, and then post the story based on solid reporting.
Another problem with CNN is its timeliness. When you stop posting hard news and start posting celebrity gossip, do try to keep up. Don’t be out scooped by Perez Hilton. Don’t let Gawker get an exclusive. Don’t add insult to injury by posting three-day old story in a place of honor on your news feed. Those that care about celebrity news will already know, and those that don’t will once again sigh and scroll down in search of something more interesting.
However, in the spirit of cooperation, let me offer five tips to make you a better news source:
1 – Quit with the damn videos. You aren’t YouTube. If I want to actually watch the news, I’ll turn on the TV.
2 – No one wants a t-shirt with the title of a news story on it. Not even if they are IN the news story.
3 – Please use your Breaking News banner wisely. Weather is not breaking news and you aren’t the weather channel. Ever since 9/11 you are the Boy Who Cried NEWS. Calm down.
4 – iReports. Why, when a dust storm made Sydney look like it had fallen into the Hellmouth, weren’t there official pictures from an international news source? The best you could do was an iReport? That's just lazy.
5 – And because it cannot be stressed enough – quit the “celebrity” coverage. Just because someone is on television does not mean what they do outside of my little black box is interesting. This is especially true of reality TV.
I will continue checking CNN daily, but I don't have high hopes. Instead, I'll read my Yahoo! news page with all its myriad sources and try to keep up with current events the old-fashioned way, by gossiping about it with friends and family.