By Valeria Sosa
On March 8, Malaysian Airlines flight 370 disappeared and the media just can’t stop talking about it.
Put simply, no one seems to have the slightest inkling about what happened to the plane. But that doesn’t stop the crazy speculations of the media.
The incessant drivel is not just annoying, it’s in some cases racist and unfair.
Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s acting transport minister, said the disappearance was caused by either “terrorism, hijacking, personal and psychological problems or technical failure”.
Fingers point to the captain of the plane, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, but the accusation has no foundation.
“When they (American news hosts) take the terrorist theory into account, they say, Of course it was the pilot. He was flying the plane,” said Rabab Hussein, an Early College senior. “They make it so he sounds like a terrorist because he is a Muslim and not because of something else. But of course he’s Muslim. He’s from a Muslim country.
The Malaysian police raided Ahmad Shah’s house in hopes of finding incriminating evidence, and seized a flight simulator he had built for investigation. However, according to Hishammuddin, “nothing sinister” was found.
According to the Guardian, thorough investigations are being conducted of the crew and passengers, but they have been unable to determine a motive or find any other red flag.
So if there is no evidence against Ahmad Shah, then why do people continue to accuse him of terrorism?
“It’s conspiracy theories,” said Robert Duncan, visiting assistant professor of political science. “Wild speculation. I don’t have any idea what happened; neither does anyone else.”
“The news media has 24 hours a day, seven days a week to fill. They are like a puppy dog with a sock. They find it and they will shake it and shake it and then tear it apart and then chew it. It’s a waste of airtime.”
So if there is no new news, then why do the news channels insist on shredding an old sock?
The answer is quite simple: ratings.
“CNN’s missing airline obsession not only doubled its primetime ratings, it itself became news because the only thing less likely than an airplane disappearing out of the sky is CNN’s ratings doubling,” said Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show”.
It’s true. According to Brian Stelter, Reliable Sources host, CNN’s totally day viewership grew from 97,000 during the Dec. 30 to March 6 period, to 196,00 from March 7 to March 26.
Certainly, the disappearance of the plane is important. The families of 239 people are distraught, not knowing where the bodies of their loved ones lay. But giant floor maps, holographic airplanes, and absurd conspiracy theories won’t help find the plane.
Not only is it ridiculous, it’s just plain disrespectful.
Rather than milking the same old cow, CNN should be doing what a news program ought to do and deliver news.
What is going on in Syria? Ukraine? Heck, what’s going on in the US?
With this hunger for ratings, we certainly aren’t going to find out anytime soon.