Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz said he’s “disturbed” by the media’s rampant speculation on missing Malaysian Air Flight 370, singling out CNN in particular for its “all-plane, all-the-time” coverage.
The American media has gradually ratcheted up its coverage of the flight since its mysterious disappearance off Vietnam one week ago, filling airtime with increasingly bizarre theories and developments later proven incorrect (RELATED: US believes Flight 370 flew 4 hours after transponder disabled, Malaysia denies)
Kurtz seems to have had enough. “It’s too much with too few facts,” he told Fox’s Gregg Jarrett. “Lots of news organizations and television networks are going very heavy on the missing plane. And you know, it’s an important story and there’s huge global interest, I get that. CNN has gotten a huge ratings bump.”
“But a lot of those hours — not just on CNN — are filled with theories and speculation and false starts,” he continued, citing incorrect reports about recovered wreckage and oil slicks. “We’re all falling into the trap, I think, of filling airtime with facts, or pseudo-facts, or speculation that turns out not to be true.”
“I understand that everybody is hungry to get the next detail,” Kurtz said, “and to fill in some of the blanks on something that seems to make no sense . . . [but] I think that a little bit more double-checking and a little bit less of the speculation would serve viewers better.”
He was particularly harsh on CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage of the flight’s disappearance this week, criticizing CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s explanation that “the job is to have more questions than answers.”
“That’s an attempt to justify the all-plane, all-the-time coverage that CNN is engaged in,” Kurtz said. “Cuomo’s co-anchor, Michaela Pereira, said today, ‘In the absence of facts, we have to consider all possibilities.'”
“Well we do, as journalists, off the air,” he said, “but we don’t have to air them in front of a camera if we don’t know. It seems to me that too many in this business have veered off course because there’s a mystery, there’s ratings in it.”
“It’s almost turned into a bit of a parlor game,” he concluded, “and that disturbs me.”
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