Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer tried to explain why American media seems so obsessed with the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, calling the news blitz “capitalism at work.”
Krauthammer appeared on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” to help Bill O’Reilly make sense of the media frenzy surrounding the flight’s disappearance — a frenzy O’Reilly finds disturbing.
“When I’m watching this, I’m like throwing things — I’m upset about it,” he told the columnist. “I know I’m old school. I know it’s ratings, obviously it’s ratings, people want to watch the mystery. But it’s now corrupting the news business, I think.”
“Let me try to explain why I think there’s this fascination,” Krauthammer responded. “This is a story with a lot of fantastic, fictional elements. It’s got, first of all, Agatha Christie, right? ‘Murder on the Orient Express?’ Whodunit? Who among the passengers is a suspect?”
“It’s got magic, David Copperfield,” he continued. “He makes airplanes disappear and you can’t quite figure out why. It also has a kind of a James Bond feel, because there’s all these imaginings that there’s a secret island somewhere with a runway and a cave where they hide underneath.”
“I personally have as little interest as you do, except for the fact that it’s a terrible tragedy,” Krauthammer told O’Reilly, “I would hate to think of what the families are going through. And I think in the coverage, what annoys me, is the way it’s become a game when in fact it’s a terrible event. And there are people who are terribly suffering.”
O’Reilly blamed television news for the sensationalism. “Cable news is a great thing, I think,” he said. “But there comes a point when it becomes a burlesque show, a farce.” He pointed to some of the more insane conspiracy theories circulating on other networks, including aliens and supernatural explanations (RELATED: The five most ridiculous aspects of CNN’s missing Malaysian flight coverage).
“Well now you’re talking my language, psychotics,” Krauthammer — also a psychiatrist — joked. “I can explain with that. But real mystery is why are ordinary, non-psychotic people so fascinated with this?”
“And I think it just has all these, you know, exotic story lines,” he explained. “And the way that the media responded is not a conspiracy. Normally you and I are upset about the bias in the media.
“Here it is just — you know what this is? This is capitalism at work,” Krauthammer concluded. “They see the ratings and they go after them.”
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