The Slow Death of a Cable News Network

CNN Worldwide made Jeff Zucker president of the company in 2013 to turn around their declining fortunes. Well, the numbers are in, and they don’t look good.

Twenty months after taking over one of the most prominent news brands, Mr. Zucker is still trying to define CNN’s place in a world of unlimited real-time information. He is laying off journalists and cutting expenses while trying to keep a once-leading cable network relevant in the digital age. The efforts largely remain a work in progress, underlining the stark challenges facing the news business.

So far this year, CNN ratings are hovering near 20-year lows. Average prime-time viewers are down about 6 percent to 176,000, compared with 2013, in the audience that attracts the most revenue for news channels, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54. Total day viewers this year are down 7.6 percent, to 122,000, according to Nielsen.

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The only person who can stop a bad guy with a howitzer is a good guy with a howitzer

Unless said bad guy steals your howitzer and shoots at you from twenty miles away.

Which is, more or less, what ISIS intends to do.

The group is now firmly entrenched in their holdings and the Iraqi military, as before, is reluctant (or unable) to launch an offensive against them. The 52 American-made and supplied M198 155mm howitzers they captured ought to come in handy; they can park them up to 25 miles away from Baghdad and shell the city with pinpoint accuracy, thanks to the M982 Excalibur GPS-guided 155mm artillery shells they also happened upon in the pillaging. Continue reading

Must be a slow news day

I mean, there are over 200 girls missing in Nigeria, probably kidnapped by those Boko Haram assholes, and Vladimir Putin has pretty much banned everyone from writing, singing, or otherwise performing anything even remotely naughty. And then there’s that whole “looming specter of war” thing going on Ukraine. But other than that, there isn’t a whole lot going on. Nothing that rates a headline, at least.

Except….

HOLY SHITBALLS, MONICA LEWINSKY IS TALKING!

Lewinsky has stayed virtually silent about the affair the past decade. She writes in Vanity Fair that “the buzz in some circles has been that the Clintons must have paid me off; why else would I have refrained from speaking out? I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.”

Wow. This shit is almost as interesting today as it was when the scandal first broke sixteen fucking years ago, isn’t it?

And by that, I mean “not very interesting at all”.

 

 

 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ebola

Ebolavirus is deceptively simple. A mere seven proteins surround and comprise a filamentous capsid, which houses its archaic genetic material: a single strand of non-segmented RNA. Yet, treatment — much less a cure — for the hemorrhagic fever Ebola engenders in humans and primates continues to elude us. Of those unfortunate enough to contract the virus, 50% to 90% will die, and there’s literally nothing we can do to help them.

If the raw numbers don’t frighten you, the symptoms sure as shit will. Ebola — like all Filoviridae — is extremely virulent; a few particles are enough to spark a full-blown infection. Injecting itself into a host cell and hijacking its reproductive proteins and organelles, the virus begins cranking out copies of itself at an exponential rate. When the host cell can no longer contain the replicated virus particles, it bursts. The released particles infect other cells, and the process continues. The mass destruction of tissues causes severe hemorrhaging. In infected persons, the lining of the stomach and intestines are sloughed off, and the victim to begins to vomit and defecate blood boiling hot with Ebola particles. The connective tissues beneath the muscles are eaten away, and without such moorings, the muscle and skin of the face droop cartoonishly from the skull. Weakened veins and capillaries break apart with the slightest pressure, making the administration of intravenous drugs or nourishment, or blood transfusions, a dubious proposition. The surface of the tongue peels off. The whites of the eyes, ravaged by the virus, turn blood red. The body bleeds at such an incredible rate its clotting agents are unable to keep up with demand. Most infected persons die of hypovolemic shock within 10 days of becoming symptomatic. It is a horrible, painful, and humiliating way to go. The only silver lining — and it is admittedly a stretch to call it that — is that the virus attacks the brain and body in equal measure. By the time an infected person crashes and bleeds out, he or she is essentially brain dead. Continue reading

How not to title a news article

The Salt Lake City Tribune posted a nice summary of the Grammys yesterday, hitting all the high notes, from Daft Punk’s toppling of Taylor Swift to Trent Reznor’s ineluctable profanity-laced post-show Twitter tirade.

But something caught my eye: the article’s title.

Daft Punk, Macklemore top left-of-center Grammys

Wait. What? Do mine eyes deceive me, or is the Tribune trying its hand at subtle editorializing?

“Left-of-center”? Because Queen Latifah married a bunch of people, some of whom just happened to be gay? That ultimately, this proved more memorable than whatever shitty song Madonna decided to sing?

If that be the case, it seems prudent to point out 52% of Americans would back a law legalizing gay marriage in all fifty states. Which means the Grammys were not left-of-center, but fucking center.

As in perfectly fucking normal.