Pharos-Tribune

Columns

April 8, 2014

VILLAGE IDIOT: Hype hype hooray, the story won't go away

How long do you think you’d continue to buy this newspaper if every single story on every single page for the last three weeks was about a missing airplane? Or a hurricane? Or a baby down a well? Or any other single topic? No sports, no weddings, no obits, no financial news?

Doesn’t the word “news,” by definition, mean that what you’re reading or seeing is something new? Why does this only apply to newspapers, and not TV? How does TV get away with this? Why is the shelf-life of a story so long on television, but so short in print?

It’s not that there’s been anything factually wrong with the missing Malaysian Flight 370 story (and if there were, how would we know?). It’s that the coverage is so out of proportion to everything else that’s going on in the world that you have to wonder: Why is it being so over-hyped?

Some will say “It’s obvious: CNN’s ratings have gone through the roof.” No, they haven’t. CNN’s ratings have gone from the toilet to the shower stall. They’re a long way from the front door. It’s like saying “Our ratings are up 50 percent!” But 50 percent of next-to-nothing is still next-to-nothing plus half of next-to-nothing. It’s not something to brag about.

My personal theory is that CNN hijacked the plane to boost their ratings and save them money at the same time. They save money by just running a tape of everything they said yesterday and playing it over and over. Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper have probably been on vacation in Brazil for the last three weeks, hoping no one will notice that they say the same thing day after day.

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