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CNN and ADHD: Can An Organization Have ADHD and Why Does it Matter?

Maariv, Tel Aviv, IsraelThis topic has been really bothering me this week, primarily because of the story of the potential book burning in Florida that caused riots and outrage all across the world this past weekend.  CNN’s behavior, in one way, reminded me of the downfall in my ADHD in that I get fired up about something, get out there talking about it, and don’t always think through the consequences of my actions.

This impulsivity was really highlighted first with the balloon boy when I was trying to get a story published on depression but couldn’t get word in because he was all over the screens.  It literally shocked me that there was high drama about the balloon boy event, but it didn’t have such catastrophic consequences.  This weekend’s coverage did.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the media and depend on them for both my business and nonprofit.  I just think their impulsivity is starting to negatively affect many.  It first started for me with the whole balloon boy fiasco, when I could not believe our depression event was ignored because of a boy in a balloon.  I literally watched in disbelief, and could not grasp the kind of drama and attention this event received.

Luckily that story was more impulsive and irrelevant.  This past story had serious negative consequences on the world.  While it certainly isn’t just CNN, they do happen to have an international brand that’s seen (usually in English) throughout the world.

Can we diagnose CNN, and other ‘news organizations’ with ADHD?   They certainly don’t have brain chemistry that can go awry.  However, like people, I don’t think necessarily putting a label on them is going to make any difference to their reputation.  I do think it is important to understand:

  • People are greatly affected by the news worldwide, especially CNN as it has a prominent and respected international brand and reach.
  • People in the U.S. like drama in their news and most speak English.
  • Worldwide, ‘outliers’ in society do not make top media stations, and drama is not as much of a factor in reporting.
  • News stations in the U.S. rely on having better ratings than other news stations.
  • News is immediate and is reacted to impulsively by both the news stations and then the public.

The diagnoses of individuals is important for two reasons; medication and therapy.  CNN doesn’t need anything for the brain, but I do think they might benefit from ADHD therapy.  Training on how to control impulses, and learning about the overall impact of their decisions on society.  Perhaps some DBT skill training as well.

The media world has changed dramatically over the past ten years, even five years:

  • Everything can be reported immediately both on television and Internet now (used to have to produce, edit, get approved, no ability to live-stream, etc.).
  • Over 5 billion people have cell phones in 2010, out of a total population of 6.7 billion.  That number was 1 billion in 2002.
  • Over 1 billion people have Internet subscriptions (much more have access to them).
  • Social networking has given us all the ability to share anything electronically, immediately.

What kind of things have they put in place to keep their ship steering in the right direction?

Do you think the news acts with ADHD-like impulsivity?  Do you have lessons you might be able to share with them so they can both satisfy the need for good ratings and provide information in a way that is helpful?  Anything else you have learned that just may help them?

FINAL NOTE:  I just found this article, and I beg to ask why there wasn’t as much drama put into this as there was the actual potential of burning?  All kinds of religions groups reading from the Koran?  Let’s make the positive out of it a MUCH bigger deal than the negative.

Creative Commons License photo credit: cliff1066™

CNN and ADHD: Can An Organization Have ADHD and Why Does it Matter?

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2010). CNN and ADHD: Can An Organization Have ADHD and Why Does it Matter?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Sep 2010
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