“It is a tremendous story that is completely in our wheelhouse,” said a senior CNN executive, who asked not to be identified defining the network’s strategy for its coverage.Little actual information to be conveyed? Check. New "facts" constantly being trotted forth, only to be retracted as false a few hours or days later? We got that. Rampant uninformed speculation, often by people with absolutely eff-all expertise in anything remotely resembling the actual topic at hand? Oh yeah. (Why Rep. Peter King in specific has needed to weigh in on multiple occasions on multiple networks in order to say that he knows exactly the same amount of jack-squat that any person off the street might, now that is a topic all its own, and ought to be seen as evidence of just how inexplicably invested both Peter King and the national media are in putting Peter King on the teevee as an authority on things. As opposed to, say, not doing that.)
More about the praise of this anonymous CNN executive below the fold.
That a story in which almost nothing is known but dozens of conflicting and oft-ridiculous theories abound is completely in the cable news "wheelhouse" may be preaching God's truth on the subject, but it isn't exactly a flattering thing. Hence, the anonymity.
“It’s an incredible mystery full of human drama, with an international element,” the senior CNN executive said. “Anything international plays into our hands because we have more reporters to deploy all over the world.”Not sure why that one needs to be anonymous, unless the definition of "reporters" is going to turn out to be one of the many things we'll be walking back in a few days. Again, though, the wheelhouse of flight speculation coverage doesn't seem to be the gaggle of reporters standing around telling us the same five or six things throughout the day, it seems to be the resulting and more time-filling vacant-eyed punditry about what all of this might mean.
“One way to define ourselves is to go all-in on stories of human drama,” the executive said.Translation: News droolz, human drama pays the bills.
You know what? Fine, whatever, speculate away. Fill the airwaves with it. If that's what people want to talk about, then it is the duty of every good commercial-driven for-profit enterprise to shove the human drama so far down America's collective gullet that it's threatening to come out the other end. Reality television is the cheapest possible entertainment to produce, it gets big audiences, and if the CNN version of it takes a little time away from having yet another paid political blowhard show up to give one of their prepared lectures on how not doing things Their Way will doom us all, so much the better. If that's the cable wheelhouse, so be it.
The only reason any of it has to be anonymous is because the corporate brands still have to pretend the "news" thing, and not the reality-television-once-removed thing, is what they do. If we just renamed each program things like Gossip 'O The Day, People Havin' Theories and Today In What a Paid Lobbyist Wants You To Believe, we'd all get along much better. We'd feel better. We'd probably even watch more of it. Between the audiences, the hosts, and the poor executives who can only fess up to these things anonymously, just think of the savings in painkiller medication alone.