Last Wednesday, along with other viewers, I was glued to my television set, following the "Breaking News." It was dramatic. It concerned life-or-death issues. It was of importance to all Americans. I'm referring, of course, to the hearing for Attorney General nominee Eric Holder. Oh, you thought I was talking about the "Miracle on the Hudson"? Yeah, not so much.
Once again, the television news networks are flogging a non-news story for all it's worth. Unfortunately, the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson" was a perfect storm for the television news networks: a "dramatic" rescue incident, with a human interest angle, unusual television pictures captured on videotape (Look! An airplane! In the water!"), and which took place just blocks from their studios. Since the plane went down, we have been subjected to endless coverage, including interviews with family members and numerous "aviation experts." I have no doubt that made-for-television movies and book deals are in the works, from the pilot and passengers. You have to love American capitalism.
Once again, however, someone needs to explain how this is "news" deserving such lopsided coverage, let alone national (and indeed, worldwide) "news" warranting so much coverage by nationwide television news networks such as MSNBC, CNN, and Fixed Noise. A prominent blogger and journalist I know recently defined "news" as when "someone tells me something I didn't know before." Even under that low standard, the "Miracle on the Hudson" isn't "news." We all knew before that airplanes sometimes crash. We knew that, in particular, planes sometimes hit flocks of birds and then crash or have to ditch. We knew that planes sometimes ditch in the water. We knew that, when planes ditch in the water, they can float for a while, and, if rescuers arrive soon enough, the people can be rescued.
By next Tuesday, the television news networks presumably will have moved away from the "Miracle on the Hudson" and onto the Obama inauguration. But until then, it's more airplane airtime. At least when the Runaway Bride ran away, or when Chandra Levy went missing, or when Caylee Anthony's body was found, or when O.J. Simpson was arrested for kidnapping and armed robbery, that was something I didn't already know.
Labels: cable news networks, hudson, miracle, news, television