View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

This...Is CNN

The first thing you notice is a large billboard across the way saying:

Come Home, Connie
CNN Needs You
Brought to you by your friends at FOX News.

This sort of corporate jousting isn't unheard-of. At one point, Kodak Japan bought a blimp to fly around Tokyo, routinely buzzing the Fuji offices there. But it is more satisfying.

The next thing, after buying the tickets for the tour, is the airport-level security. I'm sure this is run by TSA, except the guards speak English. You disgorge every bit of metal you're wearing or carrying, just like at DIA, and go through a metal detector, just like at DIA. The unworthies are further wanded, just in case. (At the stop, someone asked where the servers were located. "Undisclosed location," we were told. Remember these things the next time Aaron Brown smirks when discussing airport security, or the whereabouts of the Vice President.)

As you get to the top of the escalator, awaiting Those Who Have Been Wanded to join you, there's a display where you can pick a date and watch it's news. No doubt some of the younger folks can pick their actual birthday, where I'd have to be satisfied with a newspaper or an old B&W of Uncle Walter. Now, the networks, including CNN, have enbargoed replaying the 9-11 footage out of fear of "inciting" something or other. Naturally, the date someone had chosen as I walked by was 9/11/01. As nearly as I could tell, nobody who passed the display began shouting anti-Arab slogans.

It's the same impulse that leads CNN-Airport to run CNN on a 10-second delay, so as not to show alarming images to people in airports. I can see where children might be upset by this, but the docent didn't mention "children," only "people."

Much of the tour was pretty routine, getting to see the studios of the various networks, the news floors with the gatherers, writers, producers, and editors tapping away. Pretty much all the talking heads use Teleprompters, and few of them actually write their own stuff. They're actors playing themselves, and they do a good job of it, I'm sure.

Sad and peculiar that as nice a place as Atlanta could have produced both Ted Turner and Jimmy Carter. I had a chance yesterday to tour CNN studios, and today the Carter Center. For the moment, CNN. (Carter needs a little digesting.)

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