08 June 2005



When I was living in the US I didn't watch CNN much. Most of my news came from various print media. But here in Cambodia, with the International Herald Tribune costing $2.50, no net connection at home, and not a whole lot to do in the evenings, I found myself getting more of my news from TV — mostly BBC, but my cable company recently booted them in favor of HBO. (CCTV, if you're listening, your pirated movies show on four different channels. Why not put BBC on one of them?) So I've been watching much more CNN.

I have to say, I wasn't finding them too terrible, certainly not bad enough to justify the scorn heaped on their heads by the blogosphere. Sure, there wasn't enough in-depth coverage, and they were ignoring some stories I thought should get more attention. (Hello? Downing Street memo?) But some of that was just the limitations of the medium. Besides, they're my only source of The Daily Show, so I'm willing to forgive much in return.

What I didn't realize was that CNNi (that's CNN International) is rather radically different from the parent channel. I mean, I knew that World Sport, for instance, bore no resemblance to the US counterpart, if only because it regularly, and rather reasonably, devotes much of the show to the world's most popular sport.

But I didn't realize just how different the news content was until I read CJR Daily's Thomas Lang's article CNN Stuns U.S. With Actual News. He's clearly shocked at what he saw in "Your World Today", which I regard as an ordinary news show.

I had no idea network news was getting that bad in the US. Maybe CNN should offer CNNi there?