When you're a cable news network saddled with dismal ratings, at least a half-dozen unappealing anchors, and a British Morton Downey Jr. in the form of Piers Morgan, something you might want to hold on to is a reputation for sober professionalism. If nothing else, CNN's defenders
are were at least able to point to the network's somber approach to the news as a plus in that diminishing column.
On New Year's Eve, though, that job got a little more difficult after left-wing comedian, Kathy Griffin, simulated oral sex live on the air.
This isn't one of those situations in which a broadcaster was caught off guard during live television, either. During previous CNN New Years Eve telecasts, Griffin's pulled vulgar stunts. Last year she ripped off her blouse; the year prior she dropped the F-bomb.
In other words, CNN actually hires Griffin to behave in this way, because this is a network so desperate for ratings that broadcast decisions are being made in the hopes we'll all tune in for a New Years Eve slow-motion train wreck.
Between Piers Morgan's increasingly hysterical antics and the throwing of a paycheck at Griffin to annually debase herself, The Most Trusted Name In News is trashing what little reputation it has left in pursuit of cheap attention.
With the hiring of Jake Tapper and firing of Jack Cafferty, CNN's new chief, Jeff Zucker, has made a couple of very good moves. Not inviting the divisive, classless Griffin back for another round of trashy controversy would've been another.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC