Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Campbell Cans the Spin

In announcing her decision to leave CNN, Campbell Brown put out this statement, which included this:

I’m pretty sure the last time any anchor could honestly ignore ratings was well before I was born. Of course I pay attention to ratings. And simply put, the ratings for my program are not where I would like them to be. It is largely for this reason that I am stepping down as anchor of CNN’s “Campbell Brown.”

To be clear: this is my decision, and one that I have been thinking about for some time. As for why, I could have said, that I am stepping down to spend more time with my children (which I truly want to do). Or that I am leaving to pursue other opportunities (which I also truly want to do). But I have never had much tolerance for others’ spin, so I can’t imagine trying to stomach my own. The simple fact is that not enough people want to watch my program, and I owe it to myself and to CNN to get out of the way so that CNN can try something else.

The entire statement is honest, unvarnished, devoid of spin, and gracious — and therefore quite impressive. The problems she faced rested more with her network than with her. But in exiting CNN, Ms. Brown set a standard others in the media, and in politics, should strive for.