CNN Is Singing Off-Key

The tone-deaf news network's unfortunate song choices.

Forget spin doctors and consultants. What CNN needs is an audiologist—stat.

The once-proud news network of Ted Turner appears to be suffering from terminal tone deafness, as manifested by its choices of songs to accompany its news segments. Simply put, CNN can’t hear the music. Unfortunately, we can.

Just last week, CNN played a clip from Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” following a “Starting Point” discussion on the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, in which six worshippers were murdered. The tragedy had taken place the previous day.

CNN issued an apology, along with a complicated explanation of how the song was from a guest’s playlist, and how it aired after a three-minute commercial break and before an unrelated segment on presidential politics, etc., etc. Who cares? It was stupid and insensitive and should not have happened. Period.

A few days later, an opinion piece on about the Sikh temple shooting suspect’s involvement in white power bands mistakenly included Hatebreed, a metalcore band from Connecticut, on the list with such groups as Jew Slaughter, Angry Aryans and Final Solution.

Again, a CNN apology, and the commentary was corrected.

The previous week, CNN aired an excerpt from Pink’s “Stupid Girls” to introduce a segment on Sarah Palin, Fox contributor and former GOP vice presidential candidate, visiting a local Chik-Fil-A outlet in support of the national chain.

Again, a CNN mea culpa. “Stupid Girls” was a bad choice for that particular story, it said, adding that it regretted “any perception that they were planned together.” (See Shit, Bull.)

Look, I’m no Sarah Palin fan, but it was a cheap shot. Moreover, all it did was reinforce conservative accusations of liberal bias in the media. Remember the uproar in November when Jimmy Fallon’s band played Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” when Michele Bachmann walked on stage?

Fallon was wrong. CNN was wrong. Pols like Palin and Bachmann don’t need anyone’s help in making themselves look foolish. They have demonstrated, repeatedly, that they can do it on their own. Open mouth, insert foot. Easy.

No wonder CNN is hemorrhaging ratings. Things are so bad that the network reportedly is looking into reality programming on weekends. Coincidentally, Sunday host Fareed Zakaria was just suspended for a month because of plagiarism. Wonder if he’ll be replaced by “Dancing With the Legislators?”

Meanwhile, CNN is looking for a new president. My suggestion: Bring back Ted Turner, and give him a taser.