Despite Mockery, CNN Continues Flight 370 Overcoverage

“Watching CNN continue to breathe life into this thing is like watching a doctor on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ pounding on a patient's chest until another doctor has to pull him off and say, ‘Derek it’s over!’ That’s what I want to say to Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, it’s over! Time to move on! There will be other ocean disasters. We will always have Atlantis.”

That was Bill Maher joking about CNN's obsession over missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. On Saturday night comedian Joel McHale also mocked CNN's Flight 370 coverage by observing, "This is the 100th year of the White House Correspondents’ Association. Yes, 100 years ago CNN was only searching for the Wright brothers’ plane." The unsmiling reaction from Wolf Blitzer in the audience showed that he was clearly not amused. [See video below.] 

After all this mockery you would figure that CNN would cut back on its Flight 370 coverage. Well, from analyzing CNN's coverage of Flight 370 in the two days since the White House Correspondents Association Dinner it turns out that their coverage on this topic continues unabated. CNN Newsroom on Sunday must have known about the mockery since they reported on McHale's performance:

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: And the comedian of the night was Joel McHale. Let's listen to some of the jokes he said. He was kind of racy at times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL MCHALE, COMEDIAN: Good evening, Mr. President or as Paul Ryan refers to you yet another inner city minority relying on the federal government to feed and house your family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: My goodness, OK, so people kind of nervously laughed at moments like that.

MARC LAMONT HILL: You know, it was weird because that was one of the better jokes. You know, he sometimes went so far it wasn't even fun. I love irreverent humor but some of the jokes just didn't hit and you heard the groans in the crowd. It was not as bad as Jay Leno back in 2010, but it was darn close to maybe the one of the worst that I've seen in ten years.

Okay,  we know they watched McHale tell the Flight 370 joke that they were careful not to repeat yet later in the show they proved the joke to be accurate by resuming coverage on that topic again:

WHITFIELD: All right. The next few hours could determine what the new phase in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will look like. Chinese and Malaysia officials will attend trilateral talks in Australia to discuss what direction in which to move.

Whitfield then went on to reporting on the "new phase" of the Flight 370 which brought us no closer to finding that plane. And later in the same show, Whitfield repeated the same information on Flight 370.

WHITEFIELD: The next few hours could determine what the next phase will look like in the search for missing flight Malaysia airlines flight 370. Chinese and Malaysian officials will attend trilateral talk in Australia. Meanwhile, Malaysian police are holding some suspected terrorists right now. CNN's Will Ripley have more on whether they could be connected to the missing plane.

Extensive Flight 370 coverage that repeated what was already known continued and then a merciful break to other news until:

NICK VALENCIA: Coming up, 11 suspected terrorists arrested in Malaysia. Were they questioned over the disappearance over flight 370? What authorities are saying coming up next.

Yet more Flight 370 detail was presented to the viewers to such an extent that you can almost hear them begging for a break (or switching channels). Finally relief...until we got to the Flight 370 encore report:

RANDI KAYE: Welcome back, everybody. It's an emotional day for the families of those aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

And their Flight 370 coverage went on and on and on and...

You can get an idea of CNN's Flight 370 obsession merely by looking at the transcript outlines of their shows yesterday:

@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
• Boko Haram To Sell Kidnapped Girls; Flight 370 Search Enters New Phase; Severe Turbulence Injures Six;
Oklahoma Wildfire Kills One; Ukraine Unrest and Violence Grows; High Risk Circus Stunt Goes Wrong
Search for MH370 Enters New Phase; Baggage Fees Give Airlines Boost; New Player Enters Sterling Drama, His Wife; Michelle Knight Shares Her Story.

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
• Veterans Dying While Waiting; 200 Schoolgirls Kidnapped in Nigeria; Mystery of Flight 370

CNN NEWSROOM
• Terrorist Leader Vows To Sell 223 Girls Who Were Abducted From School Last Month; New: U.S. Now Sharing Intel With Nigeria; Flight 370 Search Entering "Tougher" Phase; Nine Performers Hurt In Aerial Circus
Stunt; Red Bull Picks Up Deal With L.A. Clippers; Supreme Court OK's Some Public Prayer
• Target CEO out After Massive Data Breach; Nine Performers Hurt in Aerial Circus Stunt; Six Hurt after Severe Turbulence Hits Flight; Oklahoma Wildfire Kills 1, Destroys 20-Plus Homes; Sterling's Wife OKs Plan for New Clippers CEO
• Lenient Rape Sentence Ignites Outrage; Terrorist Leader Vows to Sell 223 Girls • Pressure Mounts to Rescue Nigerian Girls; Outrage over Rapist Sentence in Dallas; Terrified Passengers Tossed Around in Plane
• Crisis in Ukraine; Nigerian Abduction; Flight 370 Search Reset
• U.S. Calls Boko Haram Kidnapping an "Outrage"; Flight Hits Severe Turbulence, Injures Six; Transplanted Blood Causes Old Mice to Perform Better; Sterling Drama Continues; Circus Acrobats Fall; Michelle Knight Speaks
• Sterlings Settled Discrimination Lawsuit; Will Shelly Sterling Try to Buy Clippers?; Supreme Court Rules on Public Prayer; Tension and Violence Rising in Ukraine; Study on Young Blood

CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
• Donald Sterling Saga Continues; Flight 370 Search Gets Reset

EARLY START
• Crisis in Ukraine; Searching for Flight 370; Pistorius Trial Resumes
• Crisis in Ukraine; Mystery of Flight 370: Search Expanded; "We'll Get Them Out"; Pistorius Trial Resumes; Shelly Sterling: I'm a Co-Owner
• Outrage in Odessa; Expanding the Search for Flight 370; Pistorius Trial Resumes; Big Block for Brooklyn
• Crisis in Ukraine; Finding Flight 370; Nigeria Asks U.S. for Help with Kidnapped Schoolgirls
• Over 200 Girls Remain Kidnapped In Nigeria; 60 Days, Still Nothing from MH-370; Tenants of LA Apartment Complex File Lawsuit Against Donald Sterling

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
• Crisis in Ukraine; Interview With Tennessee Senator Bob Corker; Nigeria Kidnapping; "I Abducted Your Girls"
• Donald Sterling Shopping For Lawyers?; Plane Search Reboot; Everything Is Awesome For Lego

Even the CNN transcript outlines don't reveal the full extent of their Flight 370 overcoverage because in many of the shows where the outlines show no indication that Flight 370 will be covered, it is still reported on. An example is Erin Burnett Outfront. A look at the transcript might make one think it is free from Flight 370 coverage:

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
• U.S: Many Of 223 Kidnapped Girls Already Gone; Plane Crashes into House in Colorado; America Split on Forcing Clippers' Sale

Yet when we look at the full transcript, we get this:

ERIN BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, the search for Flight 370. Have they been looking in the wrong place the entire time?

What follows is not brief. Despite not appearing in the transcript outline the Flight 370 coverage is quite extensive. It is almost as if CNN purposely invites mockery from comedians. Hey, after all it is free publicity and with its horrible ratings, CNN can use all the attention it can get even if it is in the form of people laughing at them.

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.