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CNN’s Malaysia Air 370 Coverage: When Is Enough, Enough?

constant malaysia air 370 coverageOn March 8th, Malaysia Air Flight 370 disappeared  with 239 people on board. Poof. Gone. No trace. It is a tragedy, a mystery, an international drama, a crisis revealing cultural clashes and severe miscommunications.

I am so sorry for the people with missing loved ones and am fully aware that there is no end in sight to their grief, their lives are irrevocably changed, and I pray they are comforted and find answers soon.

But I have to say that there is also no end in sight to the coverage of this story. Particularly on CNN.

Every single day since the plane went missing when I open my CNN news homepage the first two headlines, the main two, the ones given above the fold spots with large photos, have without fail been of the missing plane. For more than three weeks.

“It’s an incredible mystery full of human drama, with an international element,” the senior CNN executive said, reported in a New York Times article.

Okay. So are they a news network or a real life drama network? Maybe its just me, maybe people don’t want real news coverage and prefer Survivor: Malaysia Air 370 or Big Brother in the Cockpit or the Amazing Race to Find the Plane. Do we want news or do we want reality TV? Apparently, we want reality TV, and CNN is all too happy to capitulate — to win the ratings war.

I understand the desire to maintain ratings, to win in the nauseatingly constant competition to the best, the biggest, the most popular.

But enough is enough.

Tell me when you have something to tell me. Don’t tell me, again, that relatives are in agony. I know that they are, now let them have their privacy. Don’t tell me, again, that it is a mystery. I know.

There is a near war in Europe. There are militants killing civilians in Nigeria. There was a crisis in the evangelical community in the United States over gay marriage. There was a mudslide in Washington, a flood in the Philippines, ongoing peace talks in South Sudan. You’d barely know it by checking some major news sources.

Is this what we are turning into? The need to be the most popular trumping the need for actual reporting, actual learning about the world? The lust for real life drama and mysteries trumping the need for victims in Nigeria to be heard and cared about (which just so happens to also be an incredibly real life drama but since it is happening in Africa … )?

I don’t want reality TV news based on human drama that brings popularity. I want real, on the ground news that is invested in more than numbers. I want to know what is going on in Crimea and in Nigeria and in Djibouti. I thought that’s what news stations were for.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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