A CNN Global Achiever tries to express himself

“Who was the second person to reach the top of Mount Everest?… Exactly”

So, who was the second person? A CNN viewer doesn’t want to know


There have been concerns that CNN’s inability to compete with Fox News and MSNBC in US homes marks some sort of decline in serious cable news journalism in the USA.  Certainly the gap with the more polemical news channels is growing.  Yesterday Piers Morgan managed just 700,000 viewers at 9pm ET (and only 175,000 of these in the demographic that matters), compared with 2.4 million for Sean Hannity and 1.2 million for Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.  And that was CNN’s biggest audience of the night.

It’s been suggested that CNN respond by aiming high – ‘go upmarket’ and ignore the fight for the millions.

Some marvellous (former BBC) staff… but a somewhat embarrassing audience profile

Well, if that means adopting some of the marketing strategies of their international partners, I might be concerned.  A CNN International marketing campaign in 2009 identified some of their key audiences including a group they called Global Achievers.  They said things like ‘I want to be CEO by 40′,  ‘My Blackberry is almost permanently attached to my hand’, and ‘three more espressos should sort me out for tonight’.   They sound like the type of people Tom Wolfe once wrote about in Bonfire of the Vanities.

One quote highlighted by CNN is the one in the heading: ‘Who was the second person to reach the top of Mount Everest?  … Exactly!’

I’ve always tried to love the viewers for the broadcasters I’ve worked for.  (One of the under-reported parts of Rebekah Brooks’ and Dominic Mohan’s Leveson testimony was the way they spoke of their close relationship with the Sun readers, even to the point of going on holiday with them). It’s important to respect them too.

But the Global Achiever described by CNN as a core international viewer sounds like… a complete arse.

I hesitate to use such a word, but the evidence from that quote about Everest is so compelling:

1.  The fact that he (one assumes it’s a he) is proud of the fact that has only heard of Edmund Hillary and not Sherpa Tensing Norgay…
2. …and assumes that no-one else has heard of him either
3.  And he’s wrong, since we don’t in fact KNOW which one got there first
4.  The notion that only the first person to reach the summit matters.  As if Hillary was capable of getting there on his own.  What next?  A campaign that slags off Buzz Aldrin?
5. The way this ‘Global Achiever’ takes his first-is-all-that-matters philosophy as some sort of endorsement of his own ambition, when Edmund Hillary himself would never have done so, (and devoted much of his life helping others)
6. The way he regards the non-response from his interlocutor as proving his point (…Exactly!).


So, the CNN Global Achiever: an arrogant, ignorant person with a mistaken sense of what matters and an inflated sense of his own importance.  The funny thing is that in the USA he’s far more likely to be a viewer of Fox News.



How CNN’s Global Achievers seem to imagine themselves


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