The Yorkshire Windbag has been off gallivanting in Paris recently. There was no special occasion just the combination of cheap Eurostar tickets; some Euros left over from our last holiday; and the fact that my youngest brother lives there.

I don't know about you but one of my rituals when I'm abroad is to turn on the telly in the hotel and check out the channels. I've got quite a low boredom threshold and it never takes long for me to get sick of watching programs in a language that I don't understand (although I once managed to answer the first two questions correctly while watching an Italian version of 'Who wants to be a millionaire'). So naturally I gravitate to whichever English speaking channel I can find. Sometimes this is 'Sky news', if you're lucky its 'BBC World' but unfortunately on this occasion we ended up with CNN.

Its a while since I've watched CNN and its nice to see it hasn't changed too much. Its target audience is still the Anglo-american business man abroad. Every advert break seems to consist of plugs for airlines each boasting about how good their business class travel is. The news itself seems to have a strong financial/business leaning. 

There's something a bit soul less about the channel. It gives me the same feeling I get whenever I pass through one of the bigger airports such as Heathrow. You look round and see 'business' people strolling round as if what they are doing is really important. We all know these guys are just middle management (the really important ones are on private jets) so I don't know who they think they're impressing. 

One change I've noticed though is the way that CNN are now going for a slightly edgier house style. It seems like in every feature the 'behind the scenes' crew are dragged into the story. There are also loads of 'behind the scenes' type features. This is the sort of thing that other channels and companies were doing about ten years ago at the start of the decade.

There are a few star personalities who's show's are trailed throughout the day. The number one guy seems to be somebody called Richard Quest. His show 'Quest means business' is hyped all day with constant quotes about how brilliant he is. I never saw much of him in action but he seemed to be a geeky looking guy who still dressed like those guys in the film 'Wall Street'.

Richard Quest in typical attire

The most nauseating shows I saw though concerned the Haiti & Columbia earthquakes. There were several special reports with CNN journalists concerning these disasters. These upsetting tragedies became background to the bigger story which was about the CNN journalists. In one show the main journalist spent his time in Columbia rushing around trying to help people. Frankly I just wanted to puke. I'm sure that most journalists can't ignore the carnage they report in at times and off camera they probably help the best they can. However on camera their job is to report the story not be the story. In another report we got a whole montage of CNN reporters gushing about how the Haiti disaster moved them lots and made them realise about the enormity of human suffering blah blah blah. 

Overall CNN mixes the worst kind of bland American corporate world view with a horrible hollow attempt at sincerity. Its the best advert for ITN and Sky news I've ever seen!