Michael Wolff writes about the ongoing coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight today in The Guardian, calling it “anti-journalism.”
Wolff notes what journalism is supposed to provide—information—and why the lack of it in this story is satisfying viewers and cable news networks.
Journalism exists to provide information. But what’s really compelling is a lack of information – or what is more particularly being called “an absence of empirical data”.
I am hardly the only stick-in-the-mud to observe that the impending takeover of Crimea, a precise piece of geopolitical logistics and confrontation with a full menu of international implications – journalistic red meat – has been blown away by a story with no evident meaning, other than the likely bleak fate of most onboard.
It is, of course, an ideal story for the current journalism era because it costs nothing. Nobody has to go anywhere. Nobody has to cover the wreckage and the recovery. Not only is the story pretty much all just theories – but theories are cheap.