Skip to comments.The missing plane that saved CNN
Posted on 03/22/2014 6:46:14 AM PDT by rickmichaels
You may have noticed a certain theme in recent coverage on the 24-hour news channels a certain missing airplane and speculation on where it might be. Malaysias Flight 370 has been the big story on cable news recently, but nowhere has it been bigger than on CNN. Despite the almost complete lack of information about what happened, CNN made it a semi-permanent story, pre-empting many shows for Flight 370 coveragemostly consisting of speculation, since there were hardly any facts to go on. By the time the networks Don Lemon was speculating that the plane might have disappeared into a black hole or was the victim of something supernatural, you might have been forgiven for wondering if some kind of craziness was in the air at CNN.
Well, if CNNs crazy, its crazy like a 24-hour fox. Because the tragedy of the lost jetliner has been a joyous occasion for the network, whose ratings have improved dramatically thanks to the story. Bill Carter of the New York Times notes that CNNs numbers have gone up so dramatically that theyve actually beaten Fox News a few times during prime time. Three times last week, Anderson Coopers 8 p.m. show beat out Foxs top star, Bill OReilly, among viewers aged 25 to 54, the demographic that advertisers pay a premium for on news channels. A senior CNN executive, who may or may not be CNN head Jeff Zucker (the source asked not to be identified, but Zucker is a familiar Carter source from back when he was running NBC), gleefully called it a tremendous story that is completely in our wheelhouse, and it seems to be virtually the only kind of story that can make people change the channel to CNN en masse.
CNNs ratings problems have long been a familiar story: continually crushed by the conservative juggernaut Fox News, its also sometimes lost ground to MSNBC and its crop of liberal pundits. CNN has gone through many shows and hosts trying to fix its viewership problems, and nothing has worked. Most recently, CNN canceled its prime-time interview show Piers Morgan Live, a disastrous attempt to make an American news star out of British host tainted by the UKs phone-hacking scandal. Nothing that has been tried so far by Zucker, or his predecessor, has been able to turn around CNNs serious disadvantage when it comes to nightly and daily pundit shows.
But when a big round-the-clock news story breaks, then CNN roars to life like the Godzilla of news. This may be the biggest ratings bump CNN has recently gotten from a major story, but it isnt the first. Last year, the network was widely mocked for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, and particularly for its false assertion that a suspect had been taken into custody. But it didnt matter that CNN wasnt doing the most accurate reporting on the story: its ratings increased by 194 per cent during the coverage of the bombing, compared to a 48 per cent jump for Fox (though that still left Fox in the lead). On a slow news day, people wouldnt turn on CNN if you paid thembut if a real 24-hour story is happening, those same people all rush to see what CNN is saying.
What can account for this split personality on CNNs part, between the successful purveyor of big ongoing stories and the brutally unsuccessful network that operates on all the other days of the year? The clue might be in something veteran media analyst Brad Adgate said to Reuters last year: CNN, despite its ratings woes, is still a destination network for the light and casual news viewers. They have been around longer than anyone else. The people who follow something like the Flight 370 story may, in many cases, be people who dont usually watch 24-hour news. But when a story breaks that theyre interested in following all day and all night, CNN is still the place they instinctively go. It has the brand name left over from the Gulf War in the 90s; it has the resources for doing this kind of saturation coverage. CNN is the first network that comes to mind for this type of story.
But when there isnt a story this juicy, with this kind of crossover appeal to people who arent news junkies, then CNN is lost. Its on these other days that Fox News really shines. Fox News is built not around news stories but around punditry, and its selection of news often consists of taking an item that isnt that interesting in itself and funnelling it through the outrage of their pundits and panels. If its a slow news day, the rage on Fox News or the policy-wonk nerdiness on MSNBC will make it seem like something outrageous and important is always happening. CNN, with a poor track record hiring pundits and its desire to avoid a partisan slant in its punditry, is out in the cold when it comes to firing up the 365-day-a-year news addicts.
That means CNNs year-round ratings problem may never be solved, unless Zucker aggressively changes its approach and its lineup of news anchors. Failing that, the network can only hope and pray for something like Malaysia Flight 370 to last as long as possible. But everything ends. The appearance of some leads on possible debris from the plane has already begun to dampen CNNs coverage; now that it seems more like a conventional plane crash rather than a supernatural mystery, were already seeing the reporters devote slightly more time to Ukraine and other such unimportant matters. And when CNN has to bid a reluctant farewell to the plane story, itll go back to being the weak link in the 24-hour news chainuntil another crossover story breaks, and the sometimes viewers all come running back to CNN again.
Fox has been sleeping, for this story.
I hate CNN, but have been watching them.
CNN does seem to cover international news better than anyone else but in this case they sound like a reality TV show.
” and its desire to avoid a partisan slant in its punditry, is out in the cold when it comes to firing up the 365-day-a-year news addicts.”
Such bull feces ....
The Zombie Plane theory channel?
Plane full of dead crew and passengers flying south, and south and south until the autopilot finally tries to do a water landing?
I seldom watch BOR, but as channel fliping last night, I kept catching bits of his show. All of them were about CNN coverage of the missing jet. A show about another channel’s coverage. I guess we will now get a “news” channel reporting about FOX coverage of CNN....and so it goes....
I still hold to the theory that the jet flew for a half hour to gain altitude, glided for an hour, over and over, and is in a wheat field in Kansas.
That channel BTW is not CNN.
I wish they would get off this hobby horse. There is other news in the world.
:: A show about another channels coverage ::
And where were you when all the news outlets were breathlessly covering the “Katie Couric will be sitting in Walter Cronkites chair” soap opera?
I assume, like me, you were trying desperately to hold back the desire to violently wretch your stomach contents. (AKA, we are on the same page, bruh!)
The story is over now. The plane will never be found. It will join other air legends like DB Cooper.
Fox is the worst of the bunch, and they would do well to simply ignore stories like this because they usually make fools of themselves when they try to cover them. The Fox News coverage of Hurricane Katrina was so awful that I was (almost) embarrassed for them.
Yeah .... You saw that bias as well.
MSNBC has “policy wonks” but Fox has “hatred”.
Do the ABCNNBCBS national news media do anything but talk to themselves to reinforce their own biases?
That or, somebody knows, but they won’t tell.
Now, about those missing Obama college records....
Blowhard O’Blowhard refused to cover the story till he got beaten in the ratings by CNN and is now covering the story. ROFL. CNN keeps repeating the same themes and is boring. All the CNN experts have an axe to grind.
Even networks such as Fox sometimes do this sort of thing. Back in the 1990's, the networks were captivated by the story of a babysitter accused of killing a child in her care--something that should have only been of interest to local media. Yet the story was covered night after night--even on Fox.
A few years later, the media went gaga over the death of an actress--Nicole something or other. I was soon changing the channel whenever that story came up.
A lot of people may be tuning in just to see how nutty they get over there.
Not me, of course.
Whaaaaaaaaaaat? The Clinton News Network doesn't want to get partisan?
So tell me, what have you learned that I didn't know 3 days in?
I can’t watch BOR anymore. He’s the most pompous self-satisfied character on FOX. He thinks just because he thinks something and says it then it’s true. He’s just not that smart. Can’t stand him.
That sure looks like a flying saucer over Reid’s head ... :-) ...
Ummm ... CNN didn’t find the missing plane, so why are they going to find the missing records?
I see your point. It’s not in CNN’s interest to find either.
Fox is the “Missing White Girl Channel”
CNN is the “Missing Plane Channel”
Fox has a better structure to their day, they have more popular shows, and ordinarily this means Fox will grow ever stronger.
There are however big news stories like this, where Fox FAILS to respond, and these big news stories are exactly what CNN is wonderful in covering.
I hate CNN. But I am watching them right now.
Fox wake the heck up.
This is a huge story. It is international, it is completely mysterious, and it isn’t covered nearly enough by Fox.
Very disappointing. I think the problem is there are bigger stars at Fox, and the network is less likely to preempt them, but this is a major exception.
Everything about this story is huge.
Fox get with it.
Onto the flight deck. Love their simulator stuff.
There’s a plane missing? I haven’t watched CNN since FOX started broadcasting.
That is precisely why this is a massive story.
CNN is way out in front, covering this.
Just saying. There may not be that much longer this story will remain in a floating mysterious mess, at which point CNN’s advantage will vanish.
But for now, they’re lightyears ahead of Fox.
You hit on a good point. I don’t think Fox is really a “news” channel as much as it is a “news commentary” channel. Any media outlet that sends Geraldo Rivera to cover a breaking news story probably isn’t serious about providing credible coverage of unfolding events.
I turned on FOX the other morning, looking to learn what was up in the world. I kid you not, they were interviewing Kermit and Miss Piggy, asking the pig how she stays so young. I turned on CNN.
They don’t call it Faux News for nothing.
FNC will never catch up on Breaking News if they insist on putting the unreliable Shepard Smith on all the stories (does everybody remember his Katrina coverage?). I am still in disbelief they have him, of all people, on the “Breaking News beat.”
I think your description is spot on.
Fox outdoes CNN in every story, every day, in every way.
Except the rare instance such as this, and CNN is LIGHTYEARS ahead of Fox. I believe you are 100% correct it is because CNN in this instance is still out front covering what there is of the story.
Fox is making commentary.
Completely accurate description. I am not saying CNN does a better job. 99% of the time they are sleepy and I cannot stand them.
But rarely something big happens, and this time they are light years ahead.
That will vanish once this is found, at which point their advantage will vaporize, but right now, they are leading Fox on coverage of this.
You mean Shep and Geraldo crying about the runaway child rape and cannibalism going on in the Superdome when they ran out of water bottles?
Yeah, that was a journalistic high point.
That’s surprisingly intelligent of Fox. Proper news organizations (which normally I wouldn’t include any TV news in that list) SHOULD be sleeping on the story, because it isn’t a news story. The plane disappeared, that was news, now we’re just speculating, that isn’t news. If it ever gets found it will be news again. Right now it’s just another “missing blonde” story like the networks were so fond of.
I think that is an accurate description of Fox’s decision making on this.
Unfortunately I believe their call in this case, is wrong.
This story is a giant mystery. What could possibly be more newsworthy?
It seems like fox will start covering this, once the plane is found.
At that point, the story is basically over.
A couple of nights ago, CNN devoted at least three consecutive hours to the story even though the only fresh news was about the inconclusive Chinese satellite pics.
The Koch brothers acting on orders from Daddy Bush and the Illuminati. (sarc)
FACTS! I WANT FA-....I MEAN INNUENDO....I WANT INNUENDO! - Milo (Bloom County)
Who can forget, “They’re eating babies in the Superdome, Geraldo!!!” “And crapping down their throats, Shep!”
Nothing is happening, there is no NEWS to report. Speculation is not news, it’s at best infotainment (wow, the dictionary has that word). NOBODY that is actually a NEWS organization should be covering it until the plane is found, the story has been over (pending ACTUAL findings) for almost 2 weeks. But it has been great TV for CNN, it’s helped them sell many eyeballs to advertisers.
Just about anything.
There is nothing new on the plane. If they want to give a five minute update with all the new speculation they would have 4 minutes to spare.
There are a lot of other things happening in the world. At least one of them which is actually going to have an effect on the country as a whole.
It is not the missing plane that is important. It is the story they are not reporting on that is important.
Obama must really be in trouble for the media to suck the air out of all other stories to cover this one missing plane story.
I can remember when Bill Clinton was on the ropes with one scandal after another and then the focus changed as there was a plane crash, and for weeks, all the news was on that one plane crash. Rope a dope worked for Clinton. Will it work for Obama.
Of course the reverse is also true. When the left when after Nixon, all three (and there were only three) networks would use the first five or ten minutes of their news program talking about Watergate. This continued until he was ran out of office.
I expect that CNN will cover this story bigtime 24/7 until the death of the battery in the Black Box [orange box FDR] — 15 more days to go.
As they approach the end of the 30 days they will have a countdown clock behind them to add to the drama titled Hours until the Death of the Black Box.
When the 30 days are up the clock will start again titled this time Hours since the Death of the Black Box.
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