Wednesday, October 11, 2006

CNN Manages To Over-Hype A Story Yet Again.

Have you ever seen a small dog dry-hump someone’s leg? He knows it’s not another dog, he just can’t control himself. You usually have to pop him a couple of time on the nose with a rolled up newspaper to get him to knock it off (some dogs will do this even after they’ve been fixed too). Anyway, today a small plane crashed into an upscale apartment building in Manhattan and CNN’s coverage reminded me of a little dog drying-humping a leg. Wolf Blitzer and the various CNN anchors and correspondents all had that same black look on their face that the dog does as he grinds away; that look that says “I know this isn’t the real thing, I just can’t stop myself”.

These stories have become so predictable in the way that coverage develops that it’s almost a comedy. For instance, once it was certain that the plane belonged to a New York Yankees pitcher and the make and model of the aircraft was determined, they spent almost 20 minutes on the fact that this aircraft was equipped with a parachute, even pulling video off of the internet showing the plane over the desert deploying the chute. The thing is that the parachute was never a factor in this crash beyond Lidle’s decision to buy it in the first place. Other than a one line mention for background, the chute should never have rated the valuable airtime that it did. Then they brought out that aviation analysts who then speculate on the cause of the crash; giving long, detailed theory of what lead the plane to crash, then as more information came in they would have to re-evaluate their whole scenario. I’m writing this at 3:23pm Pacific time, I fully expect to see a computer simulation by the 6:00pm flagship news shows.

Meanwhile on FOX and MSNBC, they had moved on to other news stories. This crash wasn’t an act of terror and those newsrooms deserve credit for pragmatism and common sense. Instead of spending all of that airtime dealing with a regional accident, they got on with the job of bringing us the news of the day.

Way to go Fox News and MSNBC!

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