Not All Media Critics Think Malaysia Airlines Coverage is Too Much

By Jordan Chariton Comment

CNN MalaysiaReuters media columnist Jack Shafer writes in defense of the nonstop Malaysia Airlines coverage, suggesting he can handle what Fox News’ Howard Kurtz can’t.

When a big story breaks, my news digestion knows no satiety. Earthquake, assassination, invasion, bank run, political campaign, celebrity court case, sport scandal or a drunk stubs his toe on the Lower East Side — I can handle anything the press swarm sends at me.

So unlike Fox News press reporter Howard Kurtz (“It’s too much with too few facts,” he said last week of the saturation reporting by his former network, CNN, about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370), I can handle any “over”-coverage the news machine chooses to throw my way. By handle, I usually mean avoid, but on a story like MH370, I desire the sort of coverage that could fill the Indian Ocean, which I did not know until last week had an average depth of 2.5 miles.

Speaking of Kurtz, he criticizes the media’s plane “hysteria”, particularly pointing to CNN, in a column on today.

The Malaysian plane carries echoes of that horrible day when planes were used as weapons. But even now, after the news about the transponders and after the pilots’ homes were searched, we know very little about what happened.

And that is a combustible mixture when it comes to 24-hour cable news.

There has been speculation, some of it reckless, on every network—perhaps more of it on CNN, which has essentially gone wall to wall with the story. CNN is well-equipped to cover such a fast-moving international story, but filling all that airtime—which has been rewarded by a ratings bump—leaves more time for missteps.