Boston Globe Damning CNN With Faint Praise?

The Boston Globe has an editorial today (via Romo) headlined, “Back off, critics— TV news benefits from fresher voices,” addressing critics of CNN’s hiring of Eliot Spitzer, ex-governor of New York (and Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker) — and, almost as an afterthought, critics of Christiane Amanpour’s hosting of ABC News’s This Week.

“Fresher voices” in TV news sounds appealing. Who would quibble with that? But a more accurate headline for this piece might have been, “Please, Let’s Not Criticize CNN During This Precarious Time Lest We Kill It Off And Find Ourselves Stuck With Just Those Other Two.” Calling CNN “the best hope for a revival of traditional news values on cable,” and noting that “the fate of CNN is of more than casual interest, because it is the lone holdout on cable news promising in-depth reporting and non-ideological analysis,” the Globe then offers this defense of Spitzer’s hiring:

Yes, Spitzer will forever be marred by his use of prostitutes, but the demise of his political career has freed him up to be far more candid than the average moonlighting politico.

Better than “the average moonlighting politico” is the standard? Is that better than better than nothing?

The Globe could have written an editorial arguing we need a CNN and, even, let’s wait and see, let’s give the Spitzer-Parker show a chance, without unconvincing bits of boosterism like that (or the passing declaration that “another Crossfire, this won’t be.”)

More convincing? The parts about Amanpour’s “fresh voice” potential, as someone other than the “super-inside political reporter” “who relates the Beltway consensus” and brings a “willfully stunted” perspective.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.