No one wants to be left out of the pile-on against CNN — and other cable networks — for the coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. On “The Daily Show” show last night, Jon Stewart did his best to add a couple elbows to the melee.
To properly skewer CNN, Stewart started off by showing a brief news update from network star Anderson Cooper, stating in a brief and sober manner the breaking news of the plane’s missing status. That was good stuff, said Stewart, “Until they realized, oh [expletive], we’ve got 23 hours and 59 minutes left to fill.”
And so lame and stupid stuff crept into the coverage. “Giant floor maps, big fake airplanes, little fake airplanes, holographic airplanes, no airplane detail left unspoken.”
Then Stewart retreated into the (rather legitimate) criticisms of CNN talking about the possibility that the plane slipped into a black hole, not to mention the part where they talked about psychics. And before he was finished, the host bashed Fox News for its absurd speculation — Geraldo Rivera talking about oxygen deprivation and some expert talking about saving the plane for a terrorist strike — and MSNBC for its absurd speculation — Ed Schultz saying something about a jungle landing strip.
The Erik Wemple Blog is on record about all of this: Bring on the over-coverage. Sure, it has steered into moments of sheer idiocy now and again. Those are lamentable.
Yet the facts of the case are so mysterious as to welcome a massive investment of reportorial resources in the story. Given the inexplicability of the plane’s disappearance, too, some measure of informed speculation in this case is just fine. Within limits. And everyone will inevitably disagree on what those are.