In that context, global ubiquity is a greater asset than domestic popularity. Unlike Fox News or MSNBC, CNN cannot afford to be perceived as too American, too opinionated, too partisan, too idiosyncratic. Its ambition is to be the background channel that is always on everywhere around the world: in airport terminals, in business hotels, in barrooms and boardrooms. Bland is not a bug; it's an advantage. CNN's target audience is not individual viewers but operators and managers who are alienated by anything that is not wallpaper. They are looking for McDonald's and are fearful of Chick-fil-A.It is an interesting argument. I've often lamented that CNN just doesn't pack the visual punch that Fox mastered years ago (and it's not just Fox's fetish for blonde chicks - Fox's sets are a wonderfully warm red, white, blue and parlor brown, and their hosts ooze personality, even if it's a personality many of us can't stand).
But it probably is true that CNN is the Canada of news networks (the affable cousin-country that people sometimes forget, but love). And that may very well help CNN maintain, or attain, a lucrative global dominance.