Yesterday, I was thoroughly amused that right in the middle of a conversation on Afghanistan, Wolf Blitzer broke away for "breaking news." Do you know what the news was? Well, Rush Limbaugh had been denied the opportunity to own an NFL team after he had long berated NFL players. There were two issues that sprung up immediately. First, how is this that a respectable newscast like CNN could view this as "breaking news?" Second, how is it that the people who watch Limbaugh, who are probably working class folk, allow such a one to benefit by viewing his show? I turned off CNN posthaste!
Now, today I'm watching CNN and they have wall-to-wall coverage of the kid who it was believed had gotten into a balloon and was flying hundreds of feet off the ground in an invention that his dad had created. For two hours, CNN followed the silver balloon in the air and called on experts who spoke on the possibility of the direction of the balloon and where the kid might have been hiding. It was high drama. CNN created all kinds of scenarios. Finally, the balloon landed and there was no child. Oh, my! Now, this bit of drama added more speculation and scenarios, calling on many experts who talked about heat technology to identify the boy. It was getting dark. Where was the basket? Where had it dropped? Thank God for Google Earth! What other kind of technology will be needed to locate the boy?
I was getting very annoyed at the coverage. Yes, I had hoped that if the boy had climbed aboard that he would be found safely. I even said a prayer. But how did we know that the kid had indeed climbed aboard? Where were his parents? Who allowed it to take off with the possibility of the kid climbing aboard? Either his parents should be investigated by child protective services or CNN is running with this story because it's a slow news day? Is health care reform, increasing foreclosures, joblessness, banking reform, Afghanistan, and Iraq not fast enough, not meaningful enough? I got the feeling that CNN was loving a story that could indeed have had a tragic ending for ratings. I cut if off. I had heard enough of this sensationalism. I switched to see what Ed on MSBNC was covering.
Just as I flicked on The Ed Show, Ed was holding an interview with the psychic mother of Wife Swap who had lived in the kid's home for two weeks for this ABC show. But soon Arianna would be on. Oh, good, I thought. They're probably going to be talking about her latest post, "Why Joe Biden Should Resign." But to my utter annoyance Ed began with the story on the balloon boy. I assume he forget who he was dealing with because Arianna shot back with something like "Okay, I understand why the story was covered initially, but why are we still talking about it. The boy is safe -- now on with it. (By the way, he was hiding out in the garage attic at home.) Why are you still covering it?" I must admit to ROFL! The sensational Ed was caught in his own sensationalism. I must also say that his holding the government's feet to the fire with regards to health care reform and joblessness has been noteworthy.
But Arianna's question was perfect for network news en masse. It was one that I was dying to ask. Ed became a little testy and tried to offer a lame excuse. How could he excuse having the psychic Wife Swap mother live on his show talking about extraterrestrial beings? I couldn't believe my eyes or ears. Ed let this psychic go on and on, even apologizing for interrupting her while Arianna was cut short a few times. Amazing! At the top of the 7:00 news hour Hardball lead with "a story that transfixed a nation." The balloon boy had been found. Oh, Keith, it's 7:59. Please don't lead with this story. Does anybody really wonder why old media is becoming more irrelevant while new media continues to pave a new path? Go Arianna and Huffington Post!