Confronting the cult of partisan media

(CNN)America is self-segregating into separate political realities. And partisan media is driving much of this division across new platforms, polarizing for profit while amplifying extreme voices and achieving unprecedented reach — including the Oval Office. Avlon: Our enemies know America is polarized The result is real: A new Pew Survey shows that 73% of Americans now believe that Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on basic facts. That’s a potential death sentence for a democracy that depends on reasoning together to solve common problems. This is also an unhealthy departure from our best traditions. We had partisan newspapers in the past that, for example, excoriated and defended the New Deal, but there was still a general baseline commitment to facts and …

Why I’m ordering turkey this year rather than following the family recipe

(CNN)In the 1940s, as my family story goes, my grandmother Irma worked for Armed Services Editions, a publisher that sent more than 122 million books to servicemen around the world. One of them was a strange collection of essays by the writer Morton Thompson, including “How to Cook a Turkey.” This year is different. This year we’re ordering a “Thanksgiving dinner” special from a grocery store in Omaha. Other than a pie (my wife insists she must make a pie) and maybe some mashed potatoes (my daughter’s request), we don’t plan to cook. There’s a reason our rituals are changing, and it’s going to be OK. My mother died in mid-November last year, and this will technically be our second …

The real reason Victoria’s Secret show is going away

(CNN)There are those who will point to the decline of print to explain why Playboy magazine is a shell of what it once was, when circulation topped 5 million in the 1970s (it’s a fraction of that now). And some will triumphantly point to the new push for diversity and inclusion in recent issues of Sports Illustrated’s famed swimsuit issue for stripping the mag of must-read (or rather, must-see) status. But I tend to believe there’s a simpler explanation for the fate of these enterprises. Listen to the insightful words of Trekkie Monster, a character from the 2004 Tony Award-winning musical “Avenue Q:”

Robyn Crawford deserves to speak her truth about Whitney Houston

(CNN)It feels as if everybody’s got something to say about Whitney Houston, the pop star and actress who died in 2012 at 48. Hell, in a span of 10 months, two documentaries about Houston were released (in 2017 and 2018). At this point you would think any new work about her might not be a big deal. And yet one couldn’t help but note the visceral response to the news of Robyn Crawford’s new memoir, due out next week, “A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston.” Sign up for CNN Opinion’s new newsletter. Join us on Twitter and Facebook Third—and this is very important—she loved Whitney Houston. Not as a fan, or groupie, or meal ticket but as …

Debate coach: Smile. Look energized. Don’t blow it.

(CNN)Nothing says the 2020 presidential election is heating up like the arrival of the first primary debates. And we’ve got some whoppers, with 20 Democratic contenders facing off this week in two separate groups determined by a randomized draw. Apparently, inclusiveness to the point of overpopulation is a thing now. There are five moderators for the Miami debates. Whatever slim chance we had for depth is gone now, since each moderator will cover a range of topics with little chance for a second line of analysis or follow up questions. It’s almost as if the Democratic National Committee (like the Republican National Committee four years ago) doesn’t want a real debate — at least not yet. Please lower your expectations. …