CNN reported today that its reporting of the swine flu story could spread significantly in the days and weeks ahead and might continue throughout the all-important May sweeps rating period.
CNN said that its early reporting of the swine flu story had been contained to one or two hours a day but had recently increased to all twenty-four hours.
"This is an alarming spread in the reporting of this story," said Carol Foyler, a CNN spokesperson. "We have seen swine flu spread from primetime to all the other day parts."
Ms. Foyler said that in recent days CNN had identified several cases of "increasingly scary graphics and fonts" about swine flu during its news programs.
"These scary graphics are popping up everywhere in greater and greater numbers," she said. "These are signs that the swine flu coverage is growing more intense and virulent."
The CNN spokesperson said that news host Lou Dobbs had even taken time out from fear-mongering about immigration to fear-monger about swine flu: "This is an unprecedented development."
Even as CNN reported that its broadcasting of the swine flu story was on the rise, there was evidence that intense cases of swine flu reporting had spread from CNN to MSNBC.
"We have also seen several cases of panic-inducing graphics and terrifying fonts," said MSNBC spokesman Terry McTate. "I don't want to frighten people, but we haven't seen a story this scary since Y2K."
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