I was cruising through the home page of CNN.com today when I spotted a strange icon next to a few of the Latest News headlines. It looked like a small t-shirt so I click on it and found it that is exact what it was. They are now selling t-shirts with their latest news headlines on them like “T-shirt clad dudes back up Obama” or “Boy charged with sharing nude cell pics”. Without the context of the story it may be worth a small laugh. But after I thought about for a minute it really started to bother for for two reasons.
First, that an organization that wants to be viewed as one of the world’s best is letter their editorial style no matter how little be influenced to create headlines that will sell t-shirts. The news already feel commercialized enough but this is just so blatant that it is a slap in the face to anyone who would take them seriously.
Second was that if you take the time to look behind the headline it is even more insulting and bordering on repulsive. Take the headline “Boy charged with sharing nude cell pics“. I am sure there is some over caffeinated teenager out there who would think this a funny way to shock the parents and buy the shirt without knowing the context of the story. If you read the story you will see that CNN has decided to make money off the fact that a group of 15 years old boys have been charged with felonies for what amounts to child pornography.
Does CNN need money so badly that they need to go to these lengths and compromise their voice and good taste to do it? Do they really think that everyone is so mentally stunted by the media that we will only respond to dumbed down, low brow, sensationalized hooks? Maybe it is just me but I find it repulsive that anyone would make money on something like this.