Malaysian Airlines News And Speculation At CNN

Malaysia_Airlines_Boeing_777-2H6ER;_9M-MRG@ZRH;07.08.1998_(4794758296)I have to hand it to CNN. There’s no story I’m interested in as much as the Malaysian Airlines disappearance. They’re pouring everything they’ve got on it. That’s the good news.

The bad news is, with little new info or new info fragments, CNN has turned to speculating. I’ve heard Wolf Blitzer try and pin the rumors on others, but when it’s your megaphone that’s giving voice to these rumors you inherit responsibility. You can’t just attribute it away.

If I was in charge of CNN what would I do? I don’t know. The audience gains from all this wall-to-wall theory porn are appealing. CNN needs to stay profitable. So much temptation.

This is very similar to the steps that moved local TV news away from difficult-to-report issue stories to the crime/anecdote stories which now dominate.

CNN is seeing short term gain, but what is the long term price?

7 thoughts on “Malaysian Airlines News And Speculation At CNN”

  1. So if you were in charge of CNN, what would you do? Your answer was “I don’t know”. I guess you would do what they are doing.

    1. I seriously don’t know. Would the ‘all news’ CNN of the 80s and 90s be competitive today? I’d certainly devote a lot of coverage to the story–it’s a ‘talker’. However, they did this last week with Ukraine. Now they’ve dismissed that for this. I’m uncomfortable when news coverage becomes events without context. That goes for covering politics as a horse race instead of as competing ideas.

  2. Geoff,

    I find this particular story, very unsettling. As a professional airline pilot, I don’t like the “unknown”. One of the reasons air travel today is so safe, is that we minimize the unknown. I always practice the 5 P’s before every flight: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I want to know specific, yet accurate details. I abhor media speculation about what “might” have happened. That kind of information serves no purpose and does the industry and the traveling public a disservice. I know that that is what sells the news, but it is of no use to me as I try to discern and learn the cause of this accident, so that my future flights can avoid this potential situation.
    I can only hope that marshalling the resources of all the various investigative agencies charged with figuring out the root cause of this accident, will in fact be able to make a determination……based on fact rather than speculation.


  3. I wondered why the local news had gone over to this type of reporting. Now we have 90 minutes of news at suppertime, and if you hear about 4 different events, you are lucky. They even do it with the weather—repeat,repeat.
    I turned on CNN today hoping to get more worldwide news—but as you said–it was all speculation from this or that source. My fear is that we have all these countries involved in the search–who is looking out for the other parts of the world. Luckily, the NBC sports stations are covering some of para-olympics in Socchi,. I, too, want them to learn what happened to the plane and it’s occupants–but its not going to be through news programs disecting each tidbit of info and rehashing it ad infinitum~!

  4. This is the same thing that has happened over and over with each big news story – especially the tragic ones.

    We live in a world that expects to instantly have all the answers. The news outlets are trying to provide coverage where there is nothing to cover beyond the original news story. They keep repeating the little that they know, jumping on any new/different tidbit, and we keep watching hoping that the next item will be new and give us an answer. I’ve fallen into this trap until finally I turn off the story and wait to see if something new will come up later.

    The unknown is a huge vacuum that people can’t deal with. They think there has to be an answer, totally and completely (just like a weather forecast has to be 100% accurate in their minds). In this case one of the things we hear a lot from people is “how can a plane just disappear?” – the world is huge and the plane is relatively tiny. Technology has people forgetting that we may have a lot and be able to do a lot be we can’t do it all.

  5. News in general has done so much to scare the bejezus out of people it’s amazing anyone walks out their front door any more. I remember seeing a promo for a ‘special series’ during last November Sweeps called ‘DANGEOUS TREES! WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!’ Voiceover; This woman was hospitalized for 14 days after a tree fell on her car. Are there dangerous trees in YOUR neighborhood? Find out tonight at 11…”I was torn between hysterics and disgust. You can’t get ratings with sex stories any more you have to do one on TREES?
    I remember back in the ’90s I was doing security at an office building in Farmington. My shift ended at 10. One woman working late was about to go outside to her car. It was 12 feet from the door. She went to the door and paused like a runner waiting for the starting gun, she has her key in her hand which she held like a stiletto looked at me and said ‘I’m going to my car….wish me luck. I hope I make it.’. And she was DEADLY SERIOUS. I watched her RUN to her car and get in like a NASCAR driver late for the start. All I could think of was WTF????? Did she REALLY thiunk she was going to get kidnapped or something going to her car within eye and camera sight of the building? The thing was SHE WASN’T THE ONLY ONE. About HALF the women working there were convinced (based to stories they’d seen on TV news) they were in deadly danger walking to their car. This was FARMINGTON. The worst you could expect to encounter was maybe a raccon or a skunk.
    If you want to see true paranoia just read some of the stories on As I told their staff one time; it’s not that these stories are out there that bothers me it’s that people BELIEVE them that’s scary.
    Back in 1976 a movie called Network came out about a newscast that was turned into ‘infotainment’. Some people thought itw as funny but it really was a harbinger of the future of TV news and TV in general. I think it should be required viewing for everyone these days. Might make some people think.I doubt it but it’s worth a try.

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