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Friday, October 28, 2016

Enough, already.

Please, for the love of Cronkite: Give us a break from the missing plane. Yes, we all wonder what happened to it. Yes, our hearts go out to the families seeking resolution. But really, CNN … enough. Put your hands up and step away from the story.

I’m in the doctor’s office the other day, right? I’m waiting for my missus and the TV is on and I’m half watching, half reading and you’re covering the plane. And time passes. And you’re covering the plane. And commercials intervene and you come back and you’re covering the plane. And my wife comes out and it’s time to go and it’s been a solid hour and you’re still covering the plane. Nothing but the plane.

I’m on your website maybe six times a day, CNN, grazing for news. Have you had another lead story in the last month? Has nothing else of importance happened to any of the 7.1 billion people on this planet? I look at you and I want to start screaming like Tattoo on Fantasy Island: “De plane! De plane! De plane!”

And CNN, is it really true your “coverage” includes asking whether aliens abducted Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Or whether it was swallowed by the Bermuda Triangle? Did you actually wonder aloud if it had flown into a black hole?


You know what, CNN? I don’t even watch cable news anymore. Haven’t for years. Not interested in imbibing MSNBC’s perennially aggrieved liberalism nor Fox’s angry-all-the-time conservatism. Not interested in watching you play with your holograms, either. But there are days when you’ve got no choice. There’s been a school shooting, a terrorist attack, a national election. On those days, CNN, I always turn to you on the theory — or maybe just the faint hope — that there still flickers within you some faint, vestigial notion of what news is — some last bit of fealty to the ideal of getting the facts and telling the story, giving people information they need to understand their world and make decisions about their lives.

Yes, you’re right. That’s so 1978 of me.

Look, CNN, I know that before this happened your numbers were in the tank and you were down to your last dozen viewers or so. I’m not without sympathy. Still, there’s something sadly … whorish in the way you chase the ratings bump this story has given you. One struggles to imagine the aforementioned Cronkite, much less the sainted Edward R. Murrow — peace be upon him — selling their newsmen’s souls so nakedly just so their network might charge a little more for toilet paper commercials.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Yep! Yep! and Yep! Of course, at least this means we don’t get to watch the slow speed car chases in California or Florida every day at Noon, Eastern time. I really miss when these stations actually covered news instead of trying to be the news.

  • bstockinger

    This is so true. I so badly want to have a station or cable channel that actively reports the news. I want to know about tax and budget debates in state capitols (there are 50 of them), congressional races (535 of them) across the country, baseball scores, football scores, medical news, things happening in science, international news, and hundreds of other news worthy items.
    Tell us about things happening in Africa and Europe. No one in the United States really covers news in Africa unless its genocide or terrorist attacks. What is Poland’s reaction to the mess in Ukraine?
    In depth coverage doesn’t mean reporting the same sound bites 100 or 200 times in a week. It means you have to interview and investigate and actually work as a news reporter.

    • Lola Johnson

      I’ve watched Al Jazeera America a few times, and was pleasantly surprised by the wide-ranging and interesting news stories. I think most of us are put off by the name of that news org., but they are better than much else of what is offered.

  • stcroixcarp

    I remember when CNN actually employed journalists–corespondents, and dispatched them around the world to gather and report the news. After Ted Turner was forced out the “news” in CNN disappeared. I think CBS, ABC and NBC are down to one foreign corespondent each.

  • tdm3624

    Agreed! So tired of the missing plane story.

  • Allan Richardson

    For those who occasionally wonder what happened, how about a short “breaking news” update either (a) when something REALLY new happens, or (b) once a week, whichever comes first? And for those who don’t stay tuned in all day, repeat it BRIEFLY once an hour for 24 hours and then drop it until a new fact is discovered. Anyone who wants more details after hearing the “teaser” can go to the website. At least until something spectacular happens, like actually recovering some identifiable wreckage (either the tail or some passenger’s luggage or ID care), recovering one or both black boxes, and the final official report. We have no reasonable doubt that it sank; what we do not know is how, why, and how to prevent another plane from suffering the same fate.

    Other long term news stories should be treated the same way, but NOT totally ignored if they have a practical lesson for humanity, or the voters of a given nation, to learn (such as, if it should turn out that way, which part to make stronger, inspect more often, or replace more carefully).

  • howa4x

    I like the way Rachel Maddow handled the story. She said the plane is still missing an if we find it I will report it to you.

  • ralphkr

    I fear that the days of the CIA getting all of their “secret” information from all around the world by merely watching CNN are long gone. I am not positive that that is how CIA did gather their intel that way but some time ago a retired fairly high ranking CIA boss told me that that was how his section got the new info with which to brief the President.

  • Hima Layan

    Although collective altruism may appeal to our instincts, a closer look reveals that it is an inferior way to improve our quality of life.

  • sigrid28

    Since the 2012 election cycles, CNN has morphed into Fox News-Lite, with tabloid highlights.

  • Don51

    Where is this credibility scale/chart that Leon speaks of?

    All I know are the numerous studies starting with the PIPA Study of 2003 that have all found the same thing – that regular Faux fox viewers are the most uninformed people of all regular news viewers (80% wrong on basic facts in the 2003 study alone).

    All the studies prove Faux Fox news as the least credible.

    Look how fox listed Spector, McCain and even Foley as Dems when they weren’t! Look how the fox lies on the Health Care Act made the Politifact “pance on fire” and “worst lies of the year” list!