CNN has been widely criticized for its all-day-every-day coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has included the frequent use of a flight simulator, many animated maps, a special theme song, and anchors wondering if the plane ended up in a black hole or was the victim of some other “supernatural” force. The obvious explanation for CNN’s obsession with the missing plane is that it’s great for ratings, but Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren has a much more generous interpretation of the network’s efforts.
In a Tuesday blog post comically titled “I guess I am the only one defending CNN on this one…,” Van Susteren wrote that she “[supports] CNN on their extensive coverage,” despite some of the “dopey” elements: “Do you really think, if CNN had not done so much coverage, with its big platform, that Malaysia, Australia and even our own country would have gone the extra mile looking for that flight? I don’t. I think they would have given up a long time ago,” she declares, as though it would be possible for anyone with any authority to just “give up” on finding a plane that has been gone barely a month and is still capable of signaling its location. “The media spotlight is extremely powerful,” Van Susteren adds, as though every other media outlet in the world weren’t still jumping to report even the smallest developments on the Flight 370 search, provided that there is actually a development.
As for the “cynical” argument that CNN “did it just for the ratings”? Well, Van Susteren “[gets] the ratings every day at 4pm and CNN’s ratings just aren’t that good and the coverage is very expensive.” Of course, the only sort of person who can dismiss CNN’s March ratings spike as “not that good” is a person who works at Fox News, which has been the most highly viewed cable news network for what feels like forever. “If the ratings were so great from this coverage, everyone would be doing this topic, not just CNN,” she concludes, without noting that not everyone has Fox News and CNN’s tolerance for constant mockery.