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1 April 2014updated 28 Jun 2021 4:45am

CNN’s MH370 coverage sinks deeper in search of ratings with gimmicks and black holes

How best to handle the search for a lost plane? Why, turn the studio into a rubbish simulacrum of the bottom of the sea.

By media mole

Presumably CNN didn’t always approach news stories with such consistent, shameless lowest-common denominator coverage as it does now, but some where between its launch in 1980 and the hiring of Piers Morgan things went very south.

The search for missing Malaysia Air Flight MH370 has been exceptionally poorly-handled by CNN. Filling time with discussions about a situation with very little fresh information each day led to this now-infamous exchange between presented Don Lemon and former US Department of Transportation inspector general Mary Schiavo:

Lemon: A lot of people have been asking about that, about black holes and on and on and on, and all these conspiracy theories. [He reads some tweets. One says “what else can you think about? Black hole? Bermuda triangle?” and the other says “it’s just like the movie Lost“.] They’re also referencing the Twilight Zone, which is a very similar plot. That’s what people are saying – I know it’s preposterous, but is it preposterous, do you think, Mary?

Schiavo: Well, it is a black hole… a small black hole would suck in our entire universe so we know it’s not that. The Bermuda Triangle is often weather, and Lost is a TV show. I always like things with data, history, crunch the numbers, and for me those aren’t there. But I think it’s wonderful that the whole world is trying to help with their theories, and I absolutely love the theories.

But if you think CNN couldn’t possibly manage to top that for high-quality journalism, you’re wrong – because this happened yesterday:

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Yes, to simulate what it’s like on the bottom of the ocean, where MH370 is presumed to be, they turned the studio lights off. Immersive, media-savvy journalism, hitting where it needs to hit and holding the powerful to account.