False Equivalency

Last year my wife and I decided to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north, with a stop to see grandchildren in North Carolina. We had driven part of it several times before and so we didn’t have to stop at every lookout to take photographs of the view.

After we entered Virginia, the lookouts became fewer and far between and so we were left to driving and listening to CNN on Sirius radio. Unfortunately, it was the day that a new royal baby was born and CNN was in full-throated coverage. It seemed that nothing important was happening anywhere else in the world and especially in the United States, where CNN is headquartered.

Bored by the continuing coverage of a non-event, eventually we turned the radio off and, bored by the lack of scenery, we got off the highway and headed for the parallel interstate (81) and home.

I was reminded of that boring day while watching yet another day of wall-to-wall coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner and trying to equate the coverage of the birth of a royal baby. It’s a false equivalency, isn’t it, and the good news is that CNN pulled back from the royals in short order.

According to some media analysts, CNN has found that its ratings are solid with the continuing coverage of the missing airliner. I don’t recall the ratings for the coverage of the royal birth, but I hope they were in the tank.

CNN lost its way last year by overdosing on the royal birth but seems to have found its footing with its coverage of the missing airliner. Let us hope that a new attitude has arisen at CNN and the news directors realize that one birth in London is not the equivalent of 239 presumed dead in a missing airliner. 

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