By Michael J.W. Stickings
I haven't blogged about the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, nor about the media coverge, but I've tweeted about it a lot, especially that first month when CNN in particular was in full-on crazy-obsessed mode.
Much of the craziness was contained in host Don Lemon's nightly meanderings into recklessness, irresponsibility, and just plain stupidity, but the problem has been network-wide and is still going strong:
After two months of breathless speculation on the whereabouts of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, CNN offered some polling data that might show just how much its hyped coverage resonated with the public.
Yes, CNN actually put it in a poll:
Sure, 19 percent of respondents apparently think it's a reasonable possibility that "space aliens, time travelers or beings from another dimension" are behind the plane's disapparance. That's troubling enough, but, first, such craziness among the general public is expected, and, second, some of those who responded that way may not have been serious. What's worse, and more troubling, is that a major news network, one that claims to have a reputation for credibility and respectability, and one that in its defense certainly isn't as bad as Fox News, is actually taking such craziness seriously, letting Lemon get away with his nightly nonsense and now even treating it as a real possibility.
The poll released Wednesday found that 51 percent of Americans believe the plane is "in the Indian Ocean in the general area where the search is now taking place," while 46 percent believe it is "located somewhere else far from the area where the search is taking place."
CNN has gotten a bit carried away with the "somewhere else." Host Don Lemon hyped pretty much every conspiracy theory associated with Flight 370, and even suggested that the jet's disappearance was a "supernatural" event...
CNN's pollsters put it out there, too. According to the survey, nine percent of Americans believe it was likely that "[s]pace aliens, time travelers or beings from another dimension" played a part in the plane's disappearance.
The MH370 story boosted CNN's ratings, to be sure, but in the long run it has only further eroded its already-crumbling standing in the news world. There is great television be found there, specifically Anthony Boudain's Parts Unknown, Morgan Spurlock's Inside Man, and its various documentaries, but overall it's a joke that's becoming more and more unfunny over time.
Labels: CNN, Don Lemon, MH370, news media, polls, television, transportation