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Jon Klein channels Friedrich Nietzsche: Welcome to my nightmare, journalists!

Written By mista sense on Sunday, September 26, 2010 | 9:43 AM

As The Cable Gamer noted on Friday, ex-CNN chief Jon Klein continues to drop little bread crumbs aimed, seemingly, at tantalizing reporters and bloggers.  By telling New York magazine, "I got shot," Klein communicated his departure in such a vivid way that it guaranteed much greater interest in his story--his side of the story.  By contrast, NBCU's Jeff Zucker, who got fired, too, was much blander in his public pronouncements--it was time to "move on," etc.  And so reporters looking for a good dish will gravitate toward Klein, not Zucker.  Both men are smart--if not about television--so we can assume that Klein wants ink, while Zucker wants another job in the industry.

So in the meantime, Klein keeps at, telling The Daily Beast's Rebecca Dana, "Sometimes you have to create the abyss so that it can be filled with something."  Wow.  Where did that come from?  Abyss?  Geez, Jon, what darkness and bleakness are you thinking about in that noggin of yours?  Klein's quote refers his decision, five years ago, to cancel "Crossfire," and replace it--five years later--with "ParkerSpitzer." Which is to say, it's ridiculous to pretend that Klein's plan all along was to replace the raucous "Crossfire" with the more low-key banter.   As we all know, what Klein really had in mind was to build CNN on personalities of his choosing--not Bob Novak or Bill Press or Tucker Carlson and the rest of the "Crossfire" gang--but rather, new personalities of Klein's choosing, such as Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown.   That plan didn't work, of course, so now Klein is saying that it wasn't his plan--as if the tens of millions of dollars that CNN spent to turn Cooper, for example, into a national figure was someone else's idea.

But that's Klein's story--and he's sticking to it, and he's drawing in reporters with those punchy quotes: "shot," "abyss," and so on.   Reporters will come running to good copy, of course, like flies come to honey.

But in the meantime, we might pause over Klein's latest choice of words: "Abyss"?  In popular talk, one of the most famous uses of the word "abyss" comes from the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote once, "If you gaze into the abyss long enough, the abyss begins to gaze into you."  That is, if you think about crazy stuff, the crazy stuff will enter your mind.  Nietzsche knew what he was talking about, since he was completely crazy by the end of his life.

So why is Klein talking, even retroactively abut "creating an abysss"?    What does that word-choice reveal about his own mental state?  Those are good questions, and if TCG weren't so shy, she would ask Klein. 

The photoillustration above includes Klein and Nietzsche, those kindred spirits, while the background is Slayer's "Seasons in the Abyss," one of TCG's least-favorite albums.

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