Of course the crash of a commercial airliner is tragic, as happened Tuesday morning in the French Alps. But seriously, from the standpoint of news?
We know it was GermanWings Airbus 320 flight 4U9525, bound from Barcelona Spain to Düsseldorf Germany. We know there were six crew and 144 passengers from many nations aboard including two babies and somewhere between 12 and 16 students accompanied by two teachers. We know the plane came down "like a rocket" from 38,000 feet, taking eight minutes to reach the ground, and its "mayday" emergency call came from air traffic controllers as a result of instruments aboard the plane, and the pilot issued no voice call about trouble.
Though authorities, from the outset, were calling the helicopter-based search forces "rescue teams," there was never a possibility of survivors. The crash site is in a region of spectacular peaks sculpted by glaciers and still in the grip of winter snows. And of course they are all speculating about terrorists, because they always speculate about terrorists when they don't know why something bad happens.
Curiously, while TV news channels kept reporting all that, they were/are not reporting the lead from "Business Insider," that shares began plunging in value for both GermanWings, who owned the A320 Airbus, and Lufthansa, who wholly owns bargain airline GermanWings and who inspected the plane just yesterday. The plane was built in 1990, entered service in 1991, was "pulverized" when it hit the ground, and both the number of flights and flying hours are on the "Business Insider" site.
But TV's talking heads didn't seem to know that, or that bodies were being recovered and, as Reuters reports, taken to an impromptu morgue in a school gym.
Now, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE to communicate that information?
Less than one minute, right?
So how come NOTHING else in the world that was an earth-shattering, vital-that-we-know-about-it, TOP story just yesterday is worthy of the slightest mention for the hours and hours it is taking the cable-based news channels (except, to its credit, Al Jazeera America) to tell you what little they know about the crash, to the exclusion of everything else?
I mean, really, how many broadcast network evening news half-hour shows even finished telling yesterday's story of Sen. Ted Cruz (T*), Texas, announcing his presidential run?
Some of them managed to leave out that Cruz made his announcement at hard-core, anti-science, Christian fundamentalist, Liberty University, where each of the 10,000 students was ORDERED to be in attendance, or they would be fined.
But those news sources probably will never get around to correcting that omission now.
They have less than 60 seconds worth of facts about an airplane crash that they can repeat breathlessly as "breaking news" -- over, and over, and over... and over... fade to black.
Except for the traumatized families of crash victims and the recovery team members who are trying to hold themselves together to find all the pieces. Oh, but we're sure to hear about that, too -- undoubtedly to the exclusion of everything else.
Oh, god. Now they're reliving Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's landing in the Hudson River -- an airliner "crash," so it's "relevant," don't cha know; and an airshow crash several years ago that was also in France. A French connection, y'see. Stick around. They'll have a Turkish connection, too.
Then they'll spend ten minutes ruling out bird strikes, since there aren't any birds at 38,000 feet. Of course they'll try to publicly psychoanalyze the pilot with a gaggle of gasbag pop psychologists on retainer for just such occasions. They'll put his family through hell, and be very self-righteous about "the public's right to KNOW!"
Rhetorical red meat. With real carnage turned to bread and circuses, just like the Roman Coliseum. With home delivery to your living room, dentist's waiting room, computer screen at work, cell phone on the bus. Oh, we have come soooo far.