The Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disaster is a terrible tragedy. But the awful reality of the tragedy—the death of all the flight’s passengers—has long been obvious to everyone who doesn’t believe in fairies (or maybe mermaids). Why, then, do we continue to be engulfed by endless media reporting of the futile search for the remains? MSNBC’s preoccupation with the disaster rivals, if it doesn’t surpass, its obsession with Christiegate. CNN is no better. Hey, people, it’s not news anymore: can we start paying due attention to the actual news?
The media are undoubtedly responding to their perception of what their audiences want, and they presumably know their audiences. So I am puzzled: what is the reason for this popular preoccupation? Is it a morbid fascination with large-scale unpredictable death, or simply intrigue with a knotty mystery?
Having pondered these questions, and wondered whether I was somehow callous or weird for not yearning for every last bit of conceivable speculation about MH370, I was reassured to see Roger Cohen’s fine satire. Cohen depicts painstakingly detailed, 24/7 reporting of all the latest (non)-news of the disaster, with only brief and regrettable interruptions for such distractions as a possible major war over the Ukraine. So, thanks, Roger: I guess I’m not callous or weird. Or if I am, at least I know there are two of us.