Monday, December 6, 2021

Canned and a Farewell


I wasn't going to say anything about the debacle at CNN, but I can't help myself.

It's in bad taste to advocate for someone's dismissal, but with Chris Cuomo, there was no other option.  CNN had to fire him.

Chris admitted to helping his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, defend himself against sexual harassment allegations.  I get that.  Family first.  No problem.  Family first is always OK by me.

But, and it's a big one...  Chris lied about his total involvement, and that's a huge no-no.  As we learned nearly fifty years ago, it's not the crime, it's the cover up.

CNN bears some of the responsibility for this.  Management allowed Chris to conduct endless interviews with Andrew when the pandemic hit.  No!  No! No!  Many found it entertaining, but it just looked bad.  Integrity takes a holiday at CNN.

The network will be just fine.  Chris Cuomo never pulled big ratings.  his morning show bombed.  It will put someone else in there, making half the money, causing no problems, and have the same ratings result.

This will never happen, but I wish CNN uses the opportunity to re-make its prime time line up.  How I long for the days of PrimeNews at 8, a solid newscast of record.  I'd hang around for Larry King if he had an interesting guest.  Another solid, straight news broadcast came on at 10.  NewsNight followed, and CNN used to do great half hour sportscasts at 11:30 pm and 2:30 am.  News and highlights.  That's it.  No screwing around.  No schtick.  It was a sports fan's dream.  CNN kept its newscasts updated overnight, which is prime time on the west coast.

Straight news isn't going to pull huge numbers, but that's okay.  It attracts a quality audience and good demographics.  Advertisers love that.  Unfortunately, CNN fell victim to the "more heat than light" philosophy, and it got burned.

What will I remember about Bob Dole, who died yesterday at the age of 98?

First, his service and sacrifice to our country.

And then there was his eulogy at Richard Nixon's 1994 funeral.  Dole got up and spoke about Nixon, one of the most reviled characters in American political history.  Remember, Dole was ramping up his presidential campaign at the time, and I'm sure there were those who advised he lay low, and not speak glowingly about a man disliked by so many.  Dole did it anyway, and I respected him for that.

The moment I took away, forever, from the George H.W. Bush funeral was Dole being helped to his feet to salute the casket.

I met Bob Dole, briefly, when I was a radio pup in the 80's.  He and his wife appeared at a rally for a Republican congressional candidate.  It was inside the Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre.  I simply didn't think he was very friendly.

I believe that's a common Dole criticism.  Bob Dole had an impressive resume, and he would have made a solid president.  He was lacking in the charisma category.  The guy just didn't give people the warm fuzzies that a candidate needs.

Dole admits he ran a bad presidential campaign in 1996.  I don't think he offered anything new.  His platform was to say "no" to everything.  Voters needed more than that, and America sent a very flawed Bill Clinton back to the White House.

I covered a 1996 Dole rally on a warm fall afternoon at the University of Scranton.  It was typical of what is done these days.  Arrive, make a speech, meet some of the movers and shakers, and take off to another city.  It was considerably less than memorable.

When everything is totaled up, Bob Dole will be remembered as a great American and that's as it should be.