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David Carr: ‘We Want CNN to Be Good’

In his latest column, The New York Times’ David Carr takes on the bumbling CNN. Carr explains that Americans want the network to be the news station it claims to be. “We want CNN to be good, to be worthy of its moment,” writes Carr. But then, as we all noticed, it never can seem to do that. Carr goes through a few examples:

The biggest damage to CNN has been self-inflicted — never more so than in June, when in a rush to be first, it came running out of the Supreme Court saying that President Obama’s health care law had been overturned. It was a hugely embarrassing error.

On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., the correspondent John King reported that a suspect had been arrested. It was a big scoop that turned out to be false.

Mr. King, a native of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, was deeply sourced with local law enforcement officials, but people covering the story suggested those sources were out of the loop by Wednesday.

Throughout the week, I saw anchors and reporters staring at their phones, hoping a new nugget might arrive to give them something to say.

Despite the giant mistakes, Jeff Zucker, CNN’s recently appointed CEO, issued a memo that the network had done “exceptional work.” Never mind that the notion was far from the truth, but then again, CNN and correct statements are floating farther apart.

The sad thing is, we agree with Carr. It would be nice if CNN was “the village common where a reliable provider of news held the megaphone.” We do want CNN to be great. However, as of now, we regard the network like an alcoholic cousin: There’s still love there, but each instance of bad behavior has us moving closer to ending the relationship.

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