Today was a near textbook example of cable news overkilling a story that didn’t deserve more than a few minutes mention as a periodic update until the conclusion of the story. For three hours the channels were all over the plane with only one landing gear down. While there was some news in this story, with Nike President and CEO William D. Perez on board the Gulfstream jet, was it really necessary to follow nearly every single minute of this saga…for three hours?
What were the national ramifications of this story? That Nike might lose a CEO if the plane crashes if the plane can’t get its landing gear down? Meanwhile there’s an insurgency in Iraq, a seismic shift in Israeli politics with Sharon resigning from Likud to form a new party, Hamas making strong inroads in the run up to Palestinian elections, a shaky coalition government in Germany, GM laying off tens of thousands as the company teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, Zarqawi dodging a near capture in Iraq, and a ban on British Columbian poultry over bird flu concerns among the stories of national significance that were being ignored.
If this was just an isolated incident it would be one thing. But it’s not. It’s the latest in a series of “plane in trouble” stories that the channels were all over like a heroin addict looking for his fix. Plane problems….they’re the new car chases….
UPDATE: An emailer writes in to note that NBC News has a policy regarding covering car chases and wonders why there isn’t one for this type of scenario…
So MSNBC/NBC would rather not show a high speed chase that could end with a guy being shot on live TV, but it’s OK to show a plane crash on live TV? Seems kind of inconsistent if you ask me… any thoughts on that? It’s no secret either… they mentioned the policy on air when trying to attack FOX News a couple months ago for showing a close up of a suspect who pulled out a gun and then got shot to death live on CNN and FOX News