CNN has gotten hammered for the March 19 segment in which host Don Lemon asked whether it’s “preposterous” to suppose that missing Malaysia Airlines airliner fell into a black hole, among other insane possibilities. Rounding up the derision that followed Lemon’s space-out would overload this blog’s content management system.

All the criticism hasn’t made CNN too touchy about the matter, however. Last night on CNN, host Michael Smerconish ventured into Central Park to interview people about their views on the missing jetliner. One of the interviewees said: “There’s been theories of what? It’s like being sucked in a black hole, like I had to hear the black hole thing, which is sort of ridiculous.” Another fellow said this: “Okay, so all the TV programs are trying to bring back their good shows, you know, ABC’s trying to bring back ‘Lost’ to counteract ‘Heroes’ being brought back in, and I think it’s NBC. So I’m pretty sure this is all a advertising scheme to promote ‘Lost,’ because I mean it’s the exact same plot as the first episode.” When Smerconish asked if the guy was “serious,” the guy answered yes.

Apparently the CNN memo outlawing the crowdsourcing of theories about MH370 on CNN’s air never got written. After all, Lemon’s black-hole moment came in a segment discussing people’s strange theories on Twitter. “YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED. Black hole? Bermuda Triangle?” read a chyron during the chat.

In any case, the Smerconish moment confirms that folks are watching CNN, or at least clicking on stories that make fun of the network — which is almost as good. As noted last week in this space, an expert on CNN’s air said that certain ocean debris looked as if it was from a plane. When asked how he’d reached that conclusion, the expert cited other experts on CNN. No MH370 debris has been found.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.