Odor Attracts Attention Of Cablers

By Brian 

The cable nets “are making more of this NYC odor than the NY locals,” an e-mailer remarks.

MSNBC was apparently the first to mention the smell at 9:29am. “There are numerous reports at this hour of a gas odor all the way from Battery Park up through midtown,” the anchor said.

But there’s no way to show a smell, so the cable nets tried a variety of tactics. CNN used satellite pictures from Google Earth and wind data from its weather center. MSNBC used a map of New York City. All the cable nets used their standby live shots of the Big Apple. At various points, FNC, CNN and MSNBC each boxed three live shots on screen… as if three pictures were better than one.

FNC was the first net to use the word “terrorism,” at 9:58am, but a guest quickly called it “unlikely.” A graphic on screen later said: “U.S. official: no sign of terrorism at this point.”

On CNBC, Mark Haines on Wall Street asked Liz Claman in Engelwood Cliffs if the odor had reached New Jersey. “Not yet,” she said. “It hasn’t passed the GW bridge yet.”