Ezra Klein says cable news is in trouble. He says the audience is aging, and that the big stories that catapulted the networks into the public eye no longer excite. But there are other reasons.
MSNBC has evolved into one long, painful Today Show. The hosts are self-absorbed. They hawk their own books and talk about what wonderful things they did over the weekend. As if anyone really cares, and judging by the ratings, no one does. The network struggled with formats, firing this one and that other one, only to replace the offending anchors, if you dare call them that, with future failures. They don’t get it. The shows are uninteresting. There is very little journalism, and every reason to change the channel.
Fox has a different problem. They exist on the outrage of the week, and frankly, their audience is no longer able to be outraged any more. They are numb. It’s just another outrageous story. The audience can’t feel anymore. And the heroes and shining stars of the conservative movement are as boring as the last group of shining stars. They have all run together, like the stories Fox keeps pounding into the faithful. Everyone is numb. No one cares.
CNN? God only knows what they are trying to do. Look for Bloomberg to eclipse them any day now. Fareed Zakaria cannot prop them up forever. (Best show on cable, BTW.)
And what of the future viewers, heads bent over smartphones, ignorant of the plight of cable news? Don’t expect them to download your app. They can read all the news they want on any number of sites, filtered on Twitter or Flipboard, or just on Reddit. Why go anywhere else? They don’t want to hear about Mika’s Ambien problem anymore than they know who Matt Hasselbeck is married to, or care even.
Cable news is toast, and for good reason. They deserve to be toast. Cable news reeks.