If I hear the word “ping” one more time, I’m going to do one of three things:
- Smash my TV set.
- Wear tight ear plugs 24 hours a day.
For more than a month, I have been hearing ping, ping, ping every time I turn on my TV to get the latest news. No, I don’t have hearing problems. Rather, it’s the news media’s problem – namely, their obsession with the disappearance of Flight 760, the jet carrying 229 passengers that apparently vanished into thin air March 10 while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Lest you think I’m heartless, I assure you my heart goes out to the victims and to their loved ones who suffered – and are still suffering – from that horrible disappearance/accident/hijacking – or whatever it was. There is nothing worse than grief compounded by uncertainty. Survivors have a deep need to know what happened to their loved ones, including how they died. Closure never ends grief, but it helps survivors in their day-to-day efforts to carry on, to keep living without being crippled by unanswered questions and dangling doubts.
I am happy so many countries have joined forces, using their resources and technologies in the search for that missing airplane and its black box somewhere, probably, as they claim, on the bottom of the deep Indian Ocean.
However, in my long life as a news enthuisast, I have never heard so much idle TV speculation and guessing games as I’ve heard after the plight of Flight 760. I myself spent many hours wondering what could have happened to that hapless plane and its passengers. I even had disturbing dreams about it.
At first, some of the TV speculation was interesting, especially details about flight procedures, black boxes (actually orange), ocean currents, ocean litter, undersea topography (including mountains as high as Mount Everest). Most of the information was new and interesting to me.
OK, that said, let me now complain: I don’t want to hear another word about that tragedy until the plane is found. For days and nights, I tuned into the TV news to learn more about the bleak situation in Ukraine, the ObamaCare sign-ups, the horrible high-school stabbings in Pennsylvania, the latest jobless stats. I wanted some in-depth news on those subjects. I did get some, in dribs and drabs, but mostly it was ping, ping and more pings, more non-news about efforts to find the lost aircraft. Last I heard, there may be no more pings because the black-box battery may have petered out. But now, go figure, the news is filled with information about the lack of pings, the lack of debris fields, the lack of anything and everything. Experts – and the rest of us – are stumped, unable to solve the strange disappearance of that jet. It’s yet another example of how, despite our dazzling technology, something as simple as a dead black-box battery can defeat our best efforts.
When and if these intrepid searchers find that plane, I will rush to turn on the TV to learn all about it. By all means, let the search continue.
Flight 760 is like so many other stories that obsess TV news reporters and commentators (and some print reporters). They become as tiresome as those medieval theologians who would sit around for years wondering how many angels can dance upon the head of a pin or like Dark Age alchemists trying to turn lead into gold. Meaningless, meandering ruminations.
Examples of this morbid myopic obsession are the relentless, non-stop TV analyses of O.J. Simpson, Scott and Lacey Peterson, the “Tot Mom” trial, Oscar Pistorius and so many other bloody stories that – sad and brutal as they are – have virtually nothing to do with the lives of workaday people – that is, you and me and most everybody else. Democracy, if I recall correctly, is dependent on a well informed citizenry.
I truly hope they find that doomed jet. It will be big news, and I will want to hear all about it. Meantime, TV people, please quit updating us about pings and no-pings.