CNN Ditching 'Crossfire' – Jon Stewart: 2, Tucker Carlson: 0

By | January 6, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Last October, in one of the election season’s most memorable media moments, “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart pleaded with CNN “Crossfire” hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson to “stop, stop, stop hurting America” with their “partisan hackery.”

Well, Jon, it looks like the healing can begin.

New CNN President Jonathan Klein told The New York Times this week that the cable news network is getting away from “head-butting debate shows,” and that both Carlson and “Crossfire” will soon leave CNN.

Carlson had reportedly decided to leave the network months ago, but a shift in CNN’s overall approach and editorial feel will bring about an end to the show that he had called home. Klein noted that CNN will return to true reporting and useful information, and eschew the opinion, discussion and rhetoric that has shaped the news landscape for the past several years. It’s the type of work that Carlson reportedly hopes to continue, and the commentator is reportedly in talks to do just that for one of CNN’s competitors.

“He wanted to host a prime-time show in which he would put on live guests and have spirited debate,” Klein said the bow-tied conservative. “That’s not the kind of show CNN is going to be doing.”

Klein also told the Times that “Crossfire” may return as a smaller portion of the network’s political coverage, but said, “CNN is a different animal. We report the news. FOX talks about the news. They’re very good at what they do, and we’re very good at what we do.”

So is the shift in programming a win for Stewart, who told the “Crossfire” hosts, “You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably” – Well, it’s certainly not the main reason, but the televised dust-up most likely didn’t help. Klein told the Times, “I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart’s overall premise,” and said that he feels that audiences are now more interested in information than opinion.

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