The cable “news” networks seem to be having a field day, parsing the information–and often lack thereof–about the missing Malaysian Air Flight 370, which departed Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) just after Midnight on Saturday, bound for Beijing. Shortly thereafter, it vanished from both from radar screens and satellite surveillance. So far, the search has been enlarged to an ever-expanding area–including vast thousands of miles of land and ocean.
The linked tongue-in-cheek column, by Andy Borowitz, for the New Yorker, would be funny if it were not so spot-on target with regard to how the search is actually being managed and broadcast, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/03/total-absence-of-information-about-malaysia-flight-not-hindering-twenty-four-hour-coverage-cable-net.html?utm_source=tny&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=borowitz&mbid=nl_Borowitz%20(48). Unfortunately, that is how cable news is broadcast, apparently throwing anything and everything out there, hoping to keep the viewers’ interest. Mr. Borowitz’ column is so spot-on with how the Media always seems to milk stories, sometimes for days on end, even without any new information to report.
I have previously commented about how the cable media seems to extend such stories for days and days, even though they are just regurgitating previously-reported information. And, expert analysts seem to travel from one on-air appearance to another, saying the same thing over and over again. Some of the stories are serious (Sandy Hook killings, shootings in Downtown Manhattan, wildfires in California, etc.) and then, of course, there are those that fall into the who gives a s**t category (Justin Bieber arrested in Miami, Lance Armstrong confesses to Oprah, Kate and William have a Son, etc). Sure, cover the story! But, let it go after you have reported it–especially if it hasn’t changed in the past few days.
Borowitz’ fake quotes of network executives and TV personalities really do seem to sum-up how stories get air time. Think about it. If you have watched cable “news” (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc.) since Saturday, how many times has the Flight 370 story been “updated”…every hour, at leas-t–and the lead-in always seems to be “BREAKING NEWS”? And, as Sean Hannity (supposedly) saaid: “When it comes to broadcasting twenty-four hours a day with no verifiable facts, I wouldn’t trade our experience and expertise for anybody’s.” For once, I would agree with Mr. Hannity.
NOTE: This whole concept of milking a story reminds me of an on-going skit of “Buckwheat is Dead”, on Saturday Night Live. The SNL coverage was broadcast, over several weeks, in 1983. It was a spoof of the assassination of “Buckwheat”, a character from the old “Our Gang” short films, back in the 1930s. The name of the real Buckwheat, William “Billie” Thomas. Jr., was changed in the skits. The transcript is linked, as follows: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/82/82pstutts.phtml. OTAY?