Hearne: Channeling Nancy Grace & Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

NancyGrace-1Pardon me while I share a bit of, “What CNN Sacrificed for Missing Plane Ratings”

First what I wrote last week:

“With CNN’s ratings reportedly up some 86 percent, the only thing that doesn’t seem odd, mysterious or suspicious is the reason the news network has all but ignored 90-plus percent of the world news it regularly covers to air out-there speculation and rumors about the missing flight. Especially given that the actual amount of news to report has been essentially slim to none.”

Now let’s take a look at what TV news monitor Andrew Tyndall had to say in a Hollywood Reporter column headlined as quoted in my lead above.

“Wall-to-wall coverage, ridiculous theories: An analysis on how Jeff Zucker replaced news with the “pseudo-fictions of reality TV.”

“CNN’s decision, for all intents and purposes, to devote itself for weeks to a single story has been vindicated by increased ratings,” Tyndall writes. “Its saturation coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 reinforces the network’s image as the place to go when a sensational major story breaks. It also exemplifies the fresh definition of “news” Jeff Zucker promised when he took over CNN.”

All of that was painfully obvious, but what it says about the future of what passes for serious, non-partisan news on CNN is a more significant question. Are we destined henceforth to be subjected to wall-to-wall coverage of every sensational news event at practically the total expense of less sensational-but-arguably more important news?

“The choice to go all-in on the human tragedy of a transportation disaster is revealing,” Tyndall continues.  “If the sewage-soaked cruise liner in February 2013 was a beta trial, then MH370 was the full release. There is very little politics or policy in this story; thus, CNN’s news judgment triangulates itself as distinct from the partisan, ideological worldviews of its major domestic rivals, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. CNN even distinguishes itself from its main global competitors, Al Jazeera and BBC, which place politics and policy higher on their agendas than human interest.”


Human interest being sexy car chases, shootings, kidnappings, bizarre human behavior and the like.

Not that the evening network news broadcasts took the high road, as NBC, ABC and CBS teamed for 11 straight days to go with Flight 370 as their top story.

Equally obviously there were other significant news events going down during CNN’s missing plane binge; Russia invading the Ukraine to name a huge one.

“CNN seriously undercut its reputation as the go-to place for major news by disregarding Ukraine,” Tyndall correctly states.

But as I noted last week on lowly Paul Wilson‘s behalf, what CNN was offering up nonstop wasn’t news, rather it was a cavalcade of random rumors, wild speculation and aviation experts weighing in on matters that had no real bearing on what was known.

“The second major drawback to CNN’s coverage was that there was not enough information available. So what did the network do? Too often it abandoned actual journalism — reporting events known to have happened — to engage in speculative discussion of increasingly cockamamy theories (black holes?) about what happened inside the plane,” Tyndall continues. “At their most ridiculous, these hypotheticals became almost theological: Was there a 1 percent chance a theory might prove accurate, or was it 100 percent impossible?

preposterous-1“Thus CNN morphed from a news channel into an imaginary-chat channel, substituting expensive boots-on-the-ground reporting from Ukraine for hypothetical bloviation by studio experts and consultants. Video journalism properly expends great energy in its search for the dramatic, the unusual, the arresting, the human moment. But at its extremes, it can cross the line into fabrication. Zucker’s CNN, in its quest to triangulate news gathering away from the political monkishness of MSNBC and the ideological-message discipline of Fox News, runs the risk of exiting the realm of journalism for the pseudo-fictions of reality TV.”

Therein lies the problem.

Is the last bastion of serious cable news about to follow in the footsteps of sister station HLN?

Remember when HLN used to be called CNN Headline News and offered an abbreviated news format for people who didn’t have time to sort through the extended reporting on CNN and just wanted the basic headlines in a half hour cast?

“However, its format has increasingly shifted to long-form tabloid, opinion-, crime-, and  entertainment new-related programming,” Wikipedia correctly describes the station.

So is it to be, adios Anderson Cooper, hello Nancy Grace?

Screen-Shot-2014-03-25-at-9.07.19-AMOn an even more preposterous note, new CNN host Don Lemon seems to have become the king of ridiculous rumors at the network, the Huffington Post suggests.

“CNN’s Don Lemon is quickly becoming the source of all of the ‘best’ theories about what happened to the missing Flight 370,” the Post writes.

“Lemon’s new tactic is to solicit any random and wild theory from his viewers and then put them to a panel of guests. He did this on Wednesday night, which led to him asking Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation, whether a black hole or Bermuda Triangle could have taken the plane. Also, another Twitter follower had said the whole thing was like an episode of “Lost.”



“I know it’s preposterous,” Lemon said, before completely negating that statement by asking Schiavo, “is it preposterous, Mary?”

Schiavo had an extremely delightful answer:

“A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that. A Bermuda Triangle is often weather, and ‘Lost’ is a TV show.”

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14 Responses to Hearne: Channeling Nancy Grace & Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

  1. hot harley says:

    let me explain it to you hearne.
    Now there are more news channels than ever before!!! In fact one of the
    local stations in going to be offering 24/7 new channel somewhere (I think
    I can make that statement) along with maybe 10 or 12 that will be added
    to the mix. There will be more business channels/more sports channels (now
    theres so many and they’re segmenting into specific sports (golf/x games/
    action sports….nbc sports channel…new fox channel….hunting channels/
    mma channels…plus I’m sure as they add more potential channels there
    will be more and more sports and news channels….add to that the
    weather channel….thechanges at history and discovery….the changes
    at msnbc…and soon to be changes at fox news where they could add
    several offshoots.
    So essentially with all these stations theres not much to differentiate
    themselves. Network news rating are falling….the local stations have
    all but eliminated sports on their stations because we can get
    6 statons with 24 hour coverage and don’t we all want to watch
    more “WEATHER” coverage.
    There’s just not enough news to cover…and most of the time now
    on the news stations are essethntialy you tube video about whats
    going on in the world.
    so when you get a plane crash…and the story can carry so many legs…
    it becomes a conspiracy guys dream come true.
    cnn has overdone it…but what news is out there…Obama hitting 24
    million new insureds…. no political news unless you looking at whats
    going on for 2016….a few murders……just too much time for these
    stations to fill us that they need this garbage to fill up the endless hours
    of time they need to talk news.
    saw kctv this morning doing a special report on some kids building a
    replica of the panama canal. That was filler!!!!!!
    so with little news…with our political system dysfunctional….americans
    needing to be entertained by the news stations…it makes for a horrible
    experience for the stations……
    get used to it….or wait for something big to come across….
    even sports is kiliing itself…the ncaa championships usedto be
    broadcast on cbs network for final four and final….
    last night they showed it on tbs/tru tv/tnt….so 30% of the nation
    could not watch it because it didn’t have cable in their homes.
    its the way of the world..
    and when we brag about huge innvoations in tv technology…this
    nation is in trouble….. we’re becoming lazy/antsy and can’t
    even communicate with each other in person anymore…
    the world has changed and will change even more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. chuck says:

    “All of that was painfully obvious, but what it says about the future of what passes for serious, non-partisan news on CNN is a more significant question.”

    CNN, the Communist News Network is no more unbaised than FOX. They both grind axes in support of ideology. Differentiating CNN from From MSNBC and Al Jizzzera is splitting the few remaining hairs on me and Glaze’s head.

    That said, I liked that I could turn to CNN and get 24/7 coverage of the lost flight. I am not sure why the interest in what is a current and mesmerizing mystery story should make we Americans feel inferior. Bill O’Reilly said that “they” are the kind of folks who were tuning in to CNN are 48 Hour Mystery types. That we were, by my inference anyway, obsessesed with the mystery at the expense of other more important issues and breaking stories.

    Who fu*kin cares?

    There are, as Harley mentioned, dozens if not hundreds of outlets for breaking news. The fact that folks could go to CNN and get every last scintilla of detail on the lost flight was a convenience and serendipitous economic boon for that beleagured and moribund dinosaur. The fact, that journalists spoke in pejoritive terms of those folks interested in the lost flight is a conceit which speaks to the butthurt 4th estate’s decreasing influence over the news.

    • hot harley says:

      again I have to educate chuckles the sad racistclown.
      everything is done for ratings…cnn reads the nightly ratings and makes
      decisions….obviously people are watching cnn right now and advertisers
      are seeing the impact the stories have on viewership.
      you wouldn’t undersand why a station does this…its called revenue…
      something a black and white tv repairman wouldn’t understand.
      sorry..maybe do some research before you use such huge words that
      make no sense to 99.999% of the readers.
      you try to prove your intelligence….it just doesn’t show with the
      b.s. you put out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • chuck says:

        Thanks Harley for setting me straight and taking time away from your studies on Cold Fusion at the Plaxico Burress School for the Exceptionally Gifted/ Firing Range.

  3. paulwilsonkc says:

    The best/worst CNN comment to date on this story;

    “This particular aircraft does not stay airborne as well once the fuel tanks are empty.”

    No, Harley didn’t say that, CNN did.

  4. hot harley says:

    well another Monday…another idiotic story by wislon…another stupid comment
    by wislon about another subject (one of many) that he knows little about.
    planes can still fly without fuel….depends on pilots/speed/altititude/
    range/weather conditions etc….but wislon wouldn’t know anything
    about it.
    Because wislons stories lack any comprehensive foundation besides
    himwriting about b.s. with out any original facts/ data etc.
    His is writing is gobledy goop to the extreme.
    Rapes on campus (non story)…I mean they sound like they’re
    written by someone with brains but they go nowhere and without
    any ending…besides a 4 sided argument that makes no sense.
    And without his cut and paste from other articles in other media…
    hed have about 4 lines of original copy.
    Planes can still “glide” for up to 150 miles without fuel…but there
    are usually several tanks that are only used in extreme conditions.
    Did wislon Dixie know this…no…..and he’s one of the
    idiots who’se probably watching cnn to find out what happening
    24/7 to see whats happening with the missing plane.
    Who hears a single senetence like that. Someone looking for
    a mistake?
    Wislon has a terrible track record….almost as bad as glazes in
    using real life facts and information. Cut and paste…cut and paste…
    no original thought and no final touches just as we read in his
    Columbia rape case….or his great investiagative work finding the
    jewel theif while hiding under the dashboard of a truck? great work! hahahahaha!
    now he tries to defy Harley…of which he has no proven retraction to what
    I put on this site.
    planes dump fuel all the time….when an emergency situation ccurs to
    prevent further damage to plane and passengers.
    they can glide and are trained to do that. Read my previous remarks here.
    So again wislon…Harley make you look like a damn fool.
    Maybe the hamburglar who robbed the mcdonalds on main is still on the
    loose and you can hide dressed as Ronald McDonald to help catch the
    dangerous and on the loose $25 their. Stick to that tpe of story…the
    rest are purely hypotherical and preposterous wastes of space.
    no data……no information….no skills = one very bad collection of
    mish mash.
    I like you wislon…but you’re an epic fail when it comes to trying
    to bring Harley the great down on kcc.
    stick to what you do best….move boxes!

    hareneaiasas already censored my take on your previous article
    and how inane it was. I’m sure he’ll never let this one on because
    he knows that Harley knows all…and is about to publish the
    real truth about all the b.s. on the local kc blogs!!!!!!!
    thanks…have a great day…
    your friend

    better luck next time…you’re 0 for 100….!

    • mike t. says:

      sir harles… planes do not FLY without fuel. planes can only GLIDE (without quotes because it’s an accurate statement) without fuel, and at varying rates of descent. but descend they will.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Correct, Mike. Little does Harlis know I’m a pilot, short of a current medical, and if he’d look up 3486K that was the last plane I owned, a Piper 140, which lived at JoCo Exec.
        Not that facts matter….but thanks for the support on another comment MISS on his part.

        • mike t. says:

          well, he did somewhat correct himself later in his rant, but the sheer ignorance of the screed was amazing.

          meanwhile, I’m also seriously doubting anything but an actual glider could go 150 miles with no fuel either, and in perfect conditions. however, if your typical commuter jet – say a 737 – was traveling at 550 mph and, suddenly, ran out of fuel at 30,000 feet, I suppose it is possible it could travel 150 miles before it’s airspeed slowed enough for the plane to drop like an anvil from a Road Runner cartoon. someone better at math would need to do those calcs.

          • paulwilsonkc says:

            Mike, good point on the 150 miles. My ex wife wasn’t a totally comfortable small plane passenger. One day she and I were flying to her parents in Joplin then on to the lake. She’d asked the question, what would happen if we just lost the engine? We were over Jasper, MO at the time, flying just over 10,000 feet. I told her if she wouldn’t freak out I would show her. So I pulled the throttle all the way out, set a glide path and began to point out all the landing options we had as we silently slipped through the air. Then, I pointed out on the horizon, the Joplin airport. I made it all the way to the final approach and told I was going to add power just to not take the risk, but I was perfectly capable of landing under no power.
            That pretty much relieved any fears she had and it looked a whole lot different from then on out….

  5. paulwilsonkc says:

    PS – A large craft, all things equal, can get about 90 miles glide if they start from 30,000 feet.

  6. mike t. says:

    landings, I’ve heard = controlled crash. good thing you didn’t have any sudden issues suck the air out from under you!

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Mike, I didnt have to research my answer, so I simply went to the bathroom and harlinated that link.

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