CNN bloodbath coverage of the U.S. elections

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Courtesy of Angela Rye.
Courtesy of Angela Rye

The U.S. election has shocked the country and the world. As a journalism student, I have found myself feeling so many emotions throughout the whole campaign and election.

Thankfully, I have had outlets within my school that have allowed me to talk through my disbelief and confusion. I’ve heard so many opinions from classmates, ones similar to my own, and also very opposite.

Disregarding my status as a journalist, as an American I was astonished at the outcome of the election. But, as a journalism student, I surely watch the news more than the average citizen. My family and most of my friends know if my TV is on, it is surely tuned into CNN.

As I have become a more experienced and educated journalist, I know the shortcomings of CNN and other cable news, and am able to watch it and extract the information I need without focusing on the glitz.

But, this election cycle was brutal.

I found myself watching HGTV and the Cooking Channel a lot more often than usual.

I believe one of the main problems, specifically with cable news, is the overuse of “panels” and political pundits. Those are not good examples of the American citizenry. Very few people are as informed as they are, and those pundits are of no help in educating the public.

One other thing stands out: The lack of diversity on these panels. Sure, with this election, every news station made sure to have a Latino on camera.

For example, when Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter, CNN had panel after panel and interview after interview about how horrendous his comment was.

But there was not one disabled person on the screen.

I do believe CNN does a lot right. Specifically, election night coverage. Their “magic wall” is incredible and shows how the electoral college works and how the votes play out.

Courtesy of CNN
Courtesy of CNN

CNN also spread their resources well, covering different parts of the country on Tuesday evening.

But, regardless, the panels always steal the stage.

These panels, and the fights that ensue, makes the whole news segment seem petty. Having various middle aged men and women fighting on TV about tweets from Mr. Trump is useless. The same pundits then turn around and discuss all the “what ifs” with Clinton’s emails.

How about we stop talking hypotheticals and talk about the actual news again?

Clinton announcing she will have a press conference on Thursday is not breaking news. Donald Trump saying something offensive for the 17th time is not news.

It’s time journalism, all outlets, go back to explanatory journalism. This is our main purpose—to inform the public. Not to inform them on the tweets Donald Trump sent, but to inform them on the process of government and elections. Trump and Clinton both made promises during the campaign—We should not just be reporting these promises, we should be explaining if these promises are doable and how.

No more screaming, talking heads, no more 1-minute interviews with politicians that tell the audience nothing.

If I, someone who actually watches the 24-hour news cycle, need more explanatory journalism, then a lot more people do, too.