Like some TV Frankenstein, Ken Jautz gave us Nancy Grace, Glenn Beck and created the Joy Behar Show. Now he holds the reins of CNN, and it doesn’t look good for the beleaguered news network. Ken Stein was ousted after six years at CNN where he fought to maintain the network’s news integrity, according to The Wrap.
Jautz plucked Beck from obscurity on talk radio and plunked him down as the lead-in to Grace’s show. The rest is evil-creator history. Sounds a lot like CNN has in store what Joutz did for, er, to HLN:
According to a network insider, Jautz has repeatedly told people in the newsroom that he isn’t into long-form reporting or in-depth investigations. “I do not believe that ‘facts-only’ programming will work [in primetime],” Jautz told TheWrap in an interview on Friday. “Viewers, if they’re looking for just the news, they can get that anywhere now. The news that happened that day, they probably know already. They want context, perspective and opinion.”
Scott Safon, CNN’s chief marketing officer, who is taking over for Jautz at HLN, kind of let the cat out of the bag regarding plans for CNN:
According to one person at the meeting, Safon said Friday that CNN has a seven-month plan in place to explore what viewers want to see. He said he does not think their answer will be “more opinion,” he said. Instead, he thinks they’ll want “authenticity.” Safon and Robin Garfield, SVP of CNN research, have charted a course of “getting inside viewers heads.”
“They don’t want us to be Fox or MSNBC,” Safon said. The answer won’t be right or left, he told the staff. “It will be more authenticity, and more passion.”
I’m sorry, the only kind of passion I want mixed in with my news is when Walter Cronkite tears up when announcing the assassination of John F. Kennedy. While CNN is far from perfect, it is currently the closest thing we have to an all-news all-the-time network that can deal with breaking stories and wars, and still do some long-form journalism without a lot of opinion or “passion” mixed in. We need that.