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CRITICISM OF CNN’S MALAYSIAN AIRLINES MYSTERY RISES; SO DO RATINGS

March 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Criticism of CNN’s all-the-plane-all-the-time coverage of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 continued to mount over the weekend as little new news was offset with increasing conjecture about what might have caused the plane’s disappearance. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, veteran broadcast journalist Frank Sesno, now director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, commented, “In the not so old days, old days, we would have said never report a rumor.” However, he added, “In the old days, when we were never reporting a rumor, there weren’t social media rumors being reported all the time.” Sesno made the point that the traditional news media now must be diligent in explaining the difference between “what we know and what we don’t know.” But Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter noted that some critics have focused not on the quality of coverage of the missing plane but also on the amount of coverage. “The ratings have been significantly higher than they usually are for CNN, which tells me viewers do care about this story. But is there such a thing as too much coverage about a story like this?” he asked Sesno, who replied: “Yes. Yes, there is. … This is the rub. This is the tension, the conflict. It’s what you say, it’s how you say it, it’s how much you say it, and it’s how loud you say it.” On Fox News’s Media Buzz, Howard Kurtz noted that CNN’s ratings had risen 67 percent since it began devoting nearly all its coverage to the missing plane.