I think it's really disappointing that CNN has decided to shutter its science and technology unit, just as President Bush is leaving office and hopes are rising that the government might return to respecting science instead of the witchcraft hoodoo of various religious demagogues and the P.R. of corporate flat-earth types. It's an equal shame that this means the end of the road for CNN's Miles O'Brien, who so expertly brought many of this unit's stories to the public with a concern for communicating to an audience of laymen and the enthusiasm that comes from being the one guy in the studio who gets to say something other than the same inane political talking point over and over again.
Health Care For America Now's Jacki Schechner, who used to be a colleague of O'Brien's at CNN, has a post up about the news, which she calls "a real disappointment." She presents O'Brien as a fun and flexible newsman, generous with his time and passionate about his job. "I can't say enough great stuff about him," she writes, adding:
To hear he's being let go - along with 6 other producers - is a real disappointment. I'm still waiting to hear who those 6 might be. I fear they may be some of the amazing people who worked with me during my tenure. And if that's the case, then once again, CNN has proven they should be considered - at least to those who've given them their all - the least trusted name in the news business.
To say I'm livid would be an understatement.
TVNewser reports that "the unit is being shuttered as the network integrates science, environment and technology reporting into the general editorial structure," which probably means that they'll be sous chefs at the CNN Grill or something. Meanwhile, Richard Quest, who was arrested in Central Park with a pocketful of meth and a rope tied to his junk, still has a job. Only science can explain this.
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