CNN Charms Nation

By Nate Odenkirk and Nathan Mostow | STAFF WRITERS

A cherry pie cools on the windowsill. The cat is meowing, just because she can. And the television blares the comforting, ever-present tagline—“BREAKING NEWS!” it shouts with joy. The children race to complete their homework; Fareed Zakaria GPS is on, and they don’t want to miss Fareed’s whimsical storytelling and pleasantries. But really, any host will do.

Every night, in every household, a humble television station with big ideas charms audiences young and old with incredible 24-hour tales of bravery, daring conquests, and superdiseases. Oh, the wonders of CNN! Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper, S.E. Cupp – how lucky are we to have these golden orators in our homes all day, every day, not ceasing for even a moment!

Truly, the CNN Pundit Panel is the modern-day Aristotelian Lyceum.

And the panels! Oh, the panels! What a treat they all are! To have so many esteemed guests on, each one slightly different, but mostly all the same, delivering brilliant lines of overlapping commentary. They make the nation think and laugh. Truly, the CNN Pundit Panel is the modern-day Aristotelian Lyceum. The debates, the dialogue, so rich with nuance and poise that each moment deserves to be savored. On top of it all, to pull off these feats on live television, all to educate a public yearning to be challenged. Minds are changed. Lesser ideas are reformed, corrected, and forgiven. Enlightened ideas are rewarded with praise from the hosts and the grateful audience.

Don Lemon, a prominent philosopher on the network, contemplates the president’s behavior. “It is unbecoming of the office,” he muses, as little chyrons underneath carry his points home like lettered chariots. “I agree,” notes one guest. “I also agree,” says another. “I disagree with your assertion, Mr. Lemon,” counters another bold thought leader, employing every fiber of his mental acuity. Tension is in the air—this is the moment we all live for—a debate is surely about to begin. “And why is that, sir?” Lemon asks. “He won the election,” answers the genius.

An incredible riposte. All guests, and the host, come out of the spirited exchange having learned something new. Yet again, CNN has delivered on its promise of opening minds to fresh ideas. At the end of the respectful conversation, in which no one ever yells, Mr. Lemon dearly thanks all guests for spending their valuable time with him. “I extend my deepest appreciation,” he says as a tear runs down his cheek. “Unfortunately, we must break for commercial.” His voice wavers.

The adieu is not for long. Within minutes, Mr. Lemon returns to inform and delight an uncynical public. It never, ever ends. ♦