CNN has lost nearly half its prime-time viewers in the first half of this year, and it’s not hard to see why: It’s been done in by its own principles. Ex-CNN Chief Rick Kaplan once pooh-poohed Fox News as “basically just talk radio,” and touted CNN as the “one network that really covers the news, not talks about covering the news.” Which is a noble but fundamentally outdated ideal, and leaves the network straining "to break through a stultifying smog of midmarket general-interestness," writes Michael Hirschorn of New York.
When it launched, CNN was as revolutionary as Google, but it no longer seems all that useful “in an era when news flows like water—available everywhere, all the time, instantly,” Hirschorn argues. “If anything, sitting down for 22 minutes to watch a middlebrow mix of politics and weather seems inefficient. What was very urgent in 1980 or on 9/11 no longer seems crucial when we’re drowning in news.”