CJR Daily’s Liz Cox Barrett examines yesterday’s overkill coverage on the Gulfstream with only one landing gear down (and makes the same car chase analogy I did). Barrett unfairly singles out FNC for scrutiny in my opinion since all three networks were covering it. Maybe Barrett only watched FNC and that’s why the article is so slanted. In any case I think it unfair to devote a whole article to just one network when all three were beating the story into the ground…
It was a mixed blessing for cable news yesterday when a corporate jet in Oregon developed landing gear troubles soon after takeoff. The upside: dramatic live coverage sure to draw viewers — almost like a police chase in the sky! The downside: lots of airtime to fill.
And no matter how many talking heads news producers call on — pilots, former employees of the National Transportation Safety Board, airport officials in Oregon, even a Gulf Stream 5 expert, all of whom Fox News interviewed yesterday afternoon — chances are they will still be grappling for ways to fill the air (not to mention the screen, as the caption must be constantly refreshed to convey ongoing urgency).
What to do? Here is what Fox News did.
First, reassure viewers that the people on board the plane aren’t that important. Juliet Huddy of “Dayside” reported that passengers included “senior executives, but, you know, it’s not like the president and vice president.” Huddy later summarized the situation this way: “[S]even people onboard, four senior Nike executives, three crew people. Phil Knight, the chairman of Nike is not onboard. There are no athletes or anything like that onboard” — or, as noted in the on-screen caption, “FAA Spokesman: There are no sports stars aboard plane.”