There’s too much opinion and not enough news on television
By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer
Last week, a Malaysian Airline plane went missing. As I write this, it’s been almost seven days without a sign of the missing jetliner. At this point in time, there is no information about what caused flight MH370 to disappear and wild speculation has arisen.
I love facts, figures, and data. I also love making my own conclusions about events once I have all the relevant data. What I don’t like is when people, whose job it is to present news, present speculation, opinions, and conspiracies instead. The disappearance of flight MH370 has been a prime example of what’s gone wrong with so many major news channels.
At first, the bulk of the big media outlets broadcasted that two passengers were onboard the flight with stolen passports. Then the channels all took it a step further and strongly insinuated that the disappearance of the plane was terrorism-related. All the while I’m thinking, with the information present, all anyone knows is that two people boarded with stolen passports and that the missing flight could be caused by myriad reasons other than terrorism. There was no need for the major networks to run with the terrorism card or build up baseless speculation; it accomplished nothing.
Once the authorities did some more digging, they discovered that the two men in possession of the stolen passports were likely trying to seek asylum and reunite with family, and that there are no links between them and terrorist groups; Interpol has also stated that it is unlikely the plane’s disappearance was related to terrorism. When the actual news broke, I felt bad for the men’s families, because they’ll likely continue to endure accusations of being relatives to potential terrorist hijackers until the plane is found.
It’s not just how the networks reported on the stolen passport fiasco that has me peeved; it’s conversations with experts and the lack of reliance on facts. Whenever an anchor has an expert come on to discuss a topic, such as the missing plane, the conversation often strays away from the facts and enters into the realm of speculation. With the case of flight MH370, I’m seeing network after network pose such questions to experts: “Could the plane have been hit by a meteor?” “Could the North Koreans have hijacked the plane and landed it in North Korea?” Obviously in a case like this where answers have been few and far between, anything is possible, but bringing up possibilities accomplishes nothing. I can sit at home and tell myself that maybe an asteroid blew up the plane, or maybe it was hijacked and flown to Disneyland. I say leave the speculation to individuals and not the news.
I can understand why the CNNs and BBCs of the world wind up broadcasting less news and more opinionated banter. News is not always entertaining, and it shouldn’t be. The news should only present facts. Channels like CNN or FOX need the fun and entertainment factor to retain viewers, but I just wish I got facts and data instead of hypotheses and speculation. I must say, it’s fun laughing at conspiracy theorists and I do applaud their imagination—just please keep the imagination and creativity away from my news sources.