On March 7, Malaysian Airlines Fight 370 mysteriously vanished off the coast of Vietnam — taking with it any pretext of journalistic restraint. News outlets rushed to breathlessly review the latest “developments” in a story noteworthy for the utter absence of new information, forcing anchors and reporters to air increasingly bizarre theories and endlessly rehash tired talking points and expert analysis.
But cable news network CNN takes the cake for its widely-criticized, over-the-top coverage of the tragedy, which shows no signs of slowing as it enters its twelfth, excruciating day. Here are the five most ridiculous aspects of CNN’s frantic reporting on an international tragedy.
CNN guests and anchors got the chance to channel their inner 5-year-old boy this weekend, using a plastic toy plane to
chase each other around the studio making machine-gun noises explain what might’ve gone wrong on the Boeing 777 aircraft. Don Lemon got first dibs on Saturday, sending the model into a series of sweet turns and dives before simulating a landing on his anchor desk:
But network executives made Lemon share his toys later in the program:
The Twilight Drone
Not to pick on Don Lemon here, but let’s pick on Don Lemon. One day after his on-air playdate, the CNN anchor wondered aloud whether “the supernatural” was involved, “just putting it out there that something odd happened to this plane — something beyond our understanding”:
Non-stop flight (coverage)
Last Wednesday, BuzzFeed catalogued the amount of time CNN spent covering the missing flight versus other breaking news stories, including a devastating apartment explosion in Harlem and new developments in Ukraine. They found that between 4 and 10 p.m., the network devoted 256 out of 271 broadcast minutes to Flight 370 — a staggering 94 percent of its available airtime.
While that’s the only statistical study available on CNN’s non-stop obsession with the vanished plane, anecdotal evidence suggests the problem has only increased as the story drags on. A (satirical) article from yesterday’s New Yorker, ‘CNN Apologizes for Briefly Airing Non-Flight 370 Story,’ tells you all you need to know.
BREAKING: NO NEWS BREAKING
Spending every available second on a story could tax viewers’ patience unless they feel they’re actually getting new information. Time to bust out the BREAKING NEWS chyron:
BREAKING NEWS: Flight 370 thought to be somewhere on planet Earth, but “it’s not 100%” confirmed.
Maybe this isn’t a legitimate criticism, but CNN aviation expert Richard Quest is annoying. In fact, he may be the second-most annoying Brit on CNN (and Piers Morgan is on the way out). With all the Flight 370 hysteria, Quest’s buzz-killing Limey accent, bad teeth and infuriating smirk are suddenly EVERYWHERE:
Quest is apparently insecure about his “raspy voice” and gets nervous while speaking in public. Can’t imagine why.
But the most ridiculous aspect of CNN and Flight 370? The New York Times reports that the network’s ratings have “surged” after their incessant empty coverage of the plane’s disappearance. Expect this dead horse to get beaten for quite some time — and pray to God they eventually find this plane.
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