On two occasions last semester, this page excoriated CNN’s “Crossfire” – which had been taped live at GW for the past three years – for being antithetical to civil political discourse in general and quality broadcast journalism in particular. While we were pleased CNN opted to concentrate more on quality hard news and programs supporting such an aim by canceling “Crossfire,” we are hopeful future cooperation between GW and CNN can be maintained to continue providing valuable experiences in broadcast journalism for GW students.
CNN has always been the leader in providing in-depth, on-scene reporting around the world. CNN’s advantage in reporting hard news was evident when they sent an army of reporters to cover the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia while other networks were reduced to relying on AP and BBC footage to accompany their pundit commentary. Because of CNN’s superiority in this arena, the number of the network’s viewers skyrocketed. Perhaps this finally helped CNN recognize it need not reduce itself to Fox News’ level to compete; rather, the channel recognized that people craved a network capable of reporting, rather than merely commenting.
While a bad show programmatically, the declaration that “Crossfire” was being taped live at GW was a tremendous public relations coup for the University, providing free publicity on a daily basis. Officials are hinting that GW and CNN will continue their partnership by filming its “Inside Politics” show with a live studio audience at GW. Partnering with such a reputable show will continue to provide GW the publicity it desires, while simultaneously providing students with higher quality opportunities to become involved in broadcast journalism more aligned with the University’s academic mission. There is little doubt an internship with “Inside Politics” – a show reputed for its balance and in-depth reporting – is immensely more valuable than one designed around partisan banter.
GW has the opportunity to continue its successful partnership with CNN by collaborating on a live version of “Inside Politics.” This potential partnership, however, will not merely be centered on public relations but also on providing higher quality educational opportunities for GW students.