CNN announced Tuesday that Campbell Brown is stepping down as anchor of . . . the Campbell Brown news show. But more surprising was the straight-talking 8 p.m. news anchor's unusual candor about the reasons for her departure. In an internal but quickly leaked farewell to her colleagues, Brown made clear that she'd decided to jump rather than wait to be pushed and asked to be released from her contract. Though she was more than willing to wrestle with the ever-elusive work-life balance, she won't mind hanging out with her two small sons for a while to "enjoy, for the very first time, the nightly ritual of 'Good Night Moon.'"
She added that since she "never had much tolerance for others' spin" and so "can't imagine trying to stomach my own," she refused to imply she is leaving "to spend more time with my children" or "to pursue other opportunities" (although she will, of course, be doing both). She is signing off because "not enough people want to watch my program."
After a successful trajectory to White House correspondent at NBC, then getting her own show on cable, Brown seemed to have it all, with a seemingly happy marriage to former Fox commentator Republican Dan Senor (recently rumored to be considering a career change himself) and two on-air pregnancies. But, she wrote, she could not compete with the "incredible talents" programmed against her during the "toughest time-slot in cable news" (specifically, Bill O'Reilly on Fox, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Nancy Grace, on a CNN sister channel), and discovered that for her, it was simply impossible to shed "my own journalistic skin to try to inhabit the kind of persona that might co-exist in that line up."
With no disrespect to these luminaries, Brown continued, "It is not who I am or who I want to be."
As for the career thing, she's had a good one so far. (Check out the video below of her "rant" at the 2008 McCain presidential campaign for its "sexist treatment" of vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.) There is no reason to think the honest voice of Campbell Brown won't continue to impress news consumers who like truth with their facts.
Meantime, Brown wrote, she owes it to herself (and her bosses) "to get out of the way so that CNN can try something else."
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