Rick Sanchez Direct: CNN ADD!

Well, Rick Sanchez Direct was unloosed this afternoon onto an unsuspecting world. The CNN program appears to be the first head-on, full-frontal attempt by a mainstream media organization to harness the social web, live and on the air, to report the news.

Promoted on Sanchez’s own Twitter feed as a “Twitter show,” the production turned out to be more like a FriendFeed Gone Wild.

While Sanchez presented the news of the day, he harvested real-time viewer comments streaming in via Twitter, Facebook and MySpace [what, dude, you’re like 15?]. Raw news came in via cell phone images, mobile phone calls and user-generated video. There was even a multi-culti touch, with a flamboyantly Spanish speaking correspondent from CNN Espanol.

Sanchez is full of himself as a broadcaster and 2.0h geek–a brunette Anderson Cooper with ADD and thousands of online friends. His patter was peppered with references to the whiz-bangery by which he was presenting things: “…here’s something from Twitter coming in now, just seconds ago…this is an interactive news broadcast, it’s your show…and this, from Facebook…tell us what you think, we want to hear from you….”

Sanchez clearly relished his role as info-hero, manfully maintaining control of the real-time news battlefield while taking incoming data from all sides. At the end of the broadcast he thanked people for their “openness to Twitter, Facebook”–and indeed, one suspects, to human interaction itself. It was that kind of performance.

It’s easy to ridicule Rick Sanchez Direct as hyperspeed slapdash news-spatter. But truth told I found myself sort of liking it–the hour went fast, I got quick licks of the headlines-of-the-day, and heard the [alas, predictable] voices of my fellow Americans chattering about it all. There are worse news shows, and many that are more boring.

Which is not to say RSD is substantial or of great public value. But let’s consider the context before we bemoan the shameful intellectual decay of cable news–the domain of Wolf Blitzer, Sean Hannity and those blonde women on Fox–wrought by Twitter and Facebook.

Network TV news as it is widely practiced is highly mannered, with carefully staged standups, scripted stories, well-spoken talking heads and press conference snippets, all presented with assertive declamations by people who, as they say outside major media markets, clean up real good.

The thought that this somehow constitutes “news” in its pure form is ridiculous.

The thought that adding social media to the mix could wreck it is fatuous.

News is stuff that happens that someone finds interesting. There are infinite ways to present it. As the culture changes, so does the way it’s delivered.

My biggest complaint with RSD is that the need to generate a constant stream of real-time apoplexy to fill that Twitter screen, Sanchez & Co. will have to keep baiting the hook with red meat.

In today’s Episode One, the topics included “hard to watch” cell phone video of dead civilians in Afghanistan, a bunch of loony pastors who plan to take “all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary” their God-given right to endorse Republic–er, various candidates for public office, user videos of ginormous waves crushing the coastline of Cuba, the Government Bailout of Freddie and Fannie with Your Tax Dollars, etc.

And through Twitter and Facebook and god help us MySpace the people expressed their shock and disgust and dismay!

Sure, this is phony populism–“the issues that America really cares about,” overheated for the purposes of sensation. But welcome to our century. Later in the day, World News Tonight, Fox News and even NPR covered the very same stories, but without the public feedback.

As they say in the eye doctor’s office: Worse? Or better?

Is Rick Sanchez Direct a smart move for CNN? The 3 p.m. weekday time slot isn’t particularly valuable broadcast real estate. Why not turn it into a faddish, hyperkinetic, multi-screen, multi-media playground and see what happens?

Besides, think of the sponsorship opportunities.

For CNN sales reps, I have just two words: Red Bull.

* * * *

For more, see my previous entry previewing the program.

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25 Comments on “Rick Sanchez Direct: CNN ADD!”

  1. […] skeptic’s guide to emerging web technologies « The Web 2.D’0h! Roundup Rick Sanchez Direct: CNN ADD! […]

  2. […] Craig Stoltz wrote an interesting post today on Rick Sanchez Direct: CNN ADD!. Here’s a quick excerpt: […]

  3. […] show now called Rick Sanchez Direct that debuted today. I haven’t had a chance to see it but here is one opinion about it. IMO the key here is if Sanchez is able to effectively manage the […]

  4. Dianna Lyons Says:

    OBAMA has made the biggest POOR judgment decision before being PRESIDENT.
    NOT TO VET AND SELECT HILLARY…..he tossed 18 million voters to the curb.
    Best thing now would be for JOE BIDEN to step aside and put HILLARY where she belongs. Maybe better yet……OBAMA step aside….after that judgment call that most certainly cost the Democratic party a victory this year.

  5. Ray Austin Says:

    Hi Rick,

    I just watched Sarah Palin praising John McCain. Where is his Flag Pin? As I recall they (the republicans) raised holy cain about Obamma not wearing one. What Gives?

  6. Education is a vacine for violence.EdwardJamesOlmosEdward James Olmos

  7. alice murray Says:

    You have a great show, Rick!! Keep up the good work!!!

  8. I was wondering how the show went. Thanks for the review. Sounds like it was about what I expected.

  9. louise Says:

    Who is running for President of the U.S. – mcCain or Palin? It would seem to me that Palin gets way too much time and too much attention from EVERYBODY, especially at CNN! I am amazed at how hooked on Palin (who by the way is one of the greatest liers and hypocrits after McCain) everybody is at CNN – almost to the point of being bias! Since McCain selected her as his v.p. and she almost crowned herself when she gave her accepttance speech, that’s all reporters snd so-called best political experts seem to be able to talk about! The focus should be on Obama and McCain who are the candidates running for President of the United States – not Palin!

    My husband and I are really fed up of seeing the time allocated to that lier when we should be watching and listening and hearing from the two real candidates. Obviously, McCain has been getting more publicity lately just because of Palin because they often she them together while noone even bothered to show or talk about Obama except to criticize him and Senator Biden.

    As for the poll showing that more men than women like Palin – is it a mystery when you kept showing photos of her as a beauty queen in her bathing suit? Yes she’s smart and has a great smile and was a beauty queen. But for how long more are we supposed to listen to her lie non-stop and get away with it? You heard her latest? She’s been bragging and yelling out to the crowd of how proud she is to be from Alaska, a State that provides 20% of the oil used in the U.S. when the truth just came out that it is only 3%!

    Enough with Palin! Reporters and especially everybody at CNN has to get off that boat and get focused on the two people we want to hear from and see: Obama and McCain! AND TRY TO BIT OF A BIT MORE FAIR TO BOTH!!!


  10. Rick can be a guest on my TV show anytime. I have seen him many places throughout his career. GLoLady TV is filmed live every Friday night at 6:30-7:30pm EST at URTV a public access station in Asheville, NC. Now streaming live at http://www.urtv.org

    I have many questions that I would like to ask him. No holds bared.

  11. mcoakley Says:

    My God, the country is falling apart around us. Who cares who is responsible. Someone do something about it. A man on the moon, the atomic bomb, the Hoover Dam, the USA did it all. Today we can’t decide where to drill for oil. The country needs a combination of tech programs to reduce dependence on forgiegn oil and a revised economic program that begins with renewed regulations on fiscal policies.

  12. Lloyd Fletcher Says:

    As to the financial bailout, the federal government has “hoops to jump through” for its other programs. Why should the bailout be immune from deliberation and leading to better oversight. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t work. I respect the politicians on each side who are asking serious questions instead of giving in to pressure from the White House and ignore accountability to the taxpayers. Why reward the “fat cats” from Wall Street and other financial institutions for greed and incompentence?

  13. barry r Says:

    The Republicans have confused me with atypical worry about affecting the “taxpayer.” That is, until I realized that this “bailout” has become a test of philosophic purity. As the plague approaches, saving the good without punishing the bad [i.e., poor capitalists and socialists] has become unacceptable. Their plan must mark the door of the pure “free market” businesses so that they are spared while the impure are decimated.
    Insurance for bad loans is a part of the current problem and why the brokerage houses’ fates are intertwined. Insurance for mortgages CANNOT possibly be thought by any sane economist to be a viable cure. [isn’t this the same sort Republican approach that threatened to launch the “nuclear option” at the beginning of the Bush era?]

  14. Sonny Edwards Says:

    This surely helped the problem and prevented a solution-five years ago!

    In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules. But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states didn’t stop the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. When New York’s Attorney General’s office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation. Someone should make them pay, instead of making the American people pay again, and again, and again.
    Sonny Edwards

  15. Palin gives a new meaning to the blond jokes…”What is dummier than a blonde?”
    Right! “Sarah Palin.” S. Palin should stay in Alaska in keep on watching for the Russians. I am a Canadian very interested in the U.S. politics because it also touches us closely. I hope that Mr. Obama will be elected as your next President because you do need a change & it will not happen with Mr. McKain… too much of the same. Do you want another “Bush”? Wake-up America!

    From a “Smarth Red Head”
    R. G.

  16. David Says:

    No to Bailout Again.

    This is unconditional, anyone voting for this should be jailed for treason.

    You all haven’t even had the best mines in front of congress to see there option on what needs to be done, its shameful. Back door going ons.

    You all are using scare tactics to win support. you all don’t have any idea what will happen.

    You all sound like a car sales man, you better buy today or this deal wont be available tomorrow. Shameful.

    The banks have money to lend but they are holding out on us, these are the people that have the real money and control is there way. You should make them unlock there funds to loan. This is there fault.

    You all on capitol hill have been lied to, brainwashed or in cahoots with these banks.

    Get out the constitution and scream about how unlawful this is,
    Protect the freedom so many have died for.
    What is the cost of freedom?

    Thank You David

  17. Hi, Rick Whatever happened to Sara Palin saying to Joe Biden, at least 1/2 dozen times: “you’re living in the past, Joe”. Aren’t the Republicans doing the same thing right now bringing up Obamas friends from when he was 6 years old. Let’s get on with the future and not the past. Another thing, I very seldom hear anything from either candidate about Seniors. Only about the middle class, which I USED to be. NOW, I’m lower class. What will happen to us and the retirements we have since we worked so hard in the past to insure a good future. Most of us are too old to go back to work, if we could even find a job. So, forget the past and let’s just get with the future.

  18. Hugh Brown Says:

    This new show does seem relavant, but it is overloaded with commercials. Rick leads in an item and then goes to commercial, so every other lead has a commercial behind it. While this is very interesting when you do get a story line, beware of the commercials.

  19. manny kaplan Says:

    How will the Federal Govt. prevent further abuses like AIG ….$450,000 for a “party” to celebrate their “bailout” ?

  20. rowland Says:

    franklin delano roosevelt , dwight david eisenhauer, john fitzgerald kennedy, martin luther king, lyndon baines johnson, richard milhouse nixon, william jefferson clinton, hillary rodham clinton, george w, barrack hussein obama. what in the hell is the problem?

  21. John Bechtel Says:

    I as a Christian pastor was deeply offended by the pastor’s prayer (Rev. Arnold Conrad) at the McCain rally — that referred to our God vs their god…. this is a country that believes in religious freedom — NOT tolerance. Tolerance means that I (the majority or whatever) only tolerate you and your believes as long as I give you that permission. But Religious Freedom means that it is a right – one of the inalienable right – one that we cannot deny to anyone. We need to get a clue about religious freedom in this nation.
    Pastor John L. Bechtel
    Fremont, CA

  22. V. Cooper Says:


    As for Senator McCain telling one woman that Senator Obama is a good man, is so s superfluous and misleading, considering that later the same day one of his commercial on TV would be saying Senator Obama is buddy with terrorist. It was his responsibility to educate the very MISLED woman by informing her that Senator Obama was born in America, and for that he is an AMERICAN.

  23. […] 360 Blog and there are many more instances. One of the examples that makes the most use of social media (all at once) is Rick Sanchez. He made use of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and eMail all at the same […]

  24. Richard Says:

    Rick it is 1968 and i am in the High lands of Viet Nam. A 7 man squad i am white along with two other guys the other four are blak. I only mention the race because it is relevent to what is going on now in the Presidential race. You see none of us looked at each other as black or white but as a brothers in arms that we counted on to watch each others back. My point is in the grass it gets personel, how easy it is to look at things in a different light when you are in a plane flying over all of it. But come down to my level and you will see race does not have a place in staying alive. Shame on McCain and his people for what hey are doing. Heros don’t act like that!

  25. Rick:

    Why not “nationalize” the banks? The Armed Forces are nationalized because of national security but the Armed Forces rely on a good “economy” for its existence. The banks, therefore, are essential to the existence of the Armed Forces. Imperative that the banks be nationalized.

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