It's mostly an outcome of CNN's ineptness, although CNBC has done an excellent job broadening its scope. For instance, it offered easily the best election coverage of any major network, cable or otherwise. And it delivers financial news that strikes a mass appeal accord all day long.
It's recent Rise Above campaign illustrates how CNBC gets it and CNN doesn't.
Fox and MSNBC take clearly partisan positions. That has worked well for both networks. While not partisan, CNBC took a stance with Rise Above, promoting an end to the fiscal cliff through some advocacy, strong reporting and relevant interviews with business leaders and politicians.
CNN, by and large, practices old school journalism. It reports the news. That's nothing to hang your hat on if you want to win in cable television, particularly news. CNN needs to blur the lines, just like Fox, MSNBC and, to a lesser extent, CNBC have. That's what wins. That's what will pull them out of the ratings cellar.CNN needs to position itself as the Chris Christie of cable news. If I ran the network, I would mention Fox and MSNBC in every promo. But CNN should not position itself as the source for objective journalism, it should image as the network that wants politicians to "Rise Above," not just during crisis, but all of the time. Hire people with opinions and personality; not partisan hacks. Use the same type of branding and marketing Chris Christie will use heading into 2016. That will resonate with the American people. However Bewkes and Zucker go about it at Time Warner, I'm confident they'll make the right choices. Both guys understand the business as well as anybody and CNN has been down for far too long. TWX is already a screaming buy; a resurgent CNN would only make the signal stronger. Follow @rocco_thestreet