"But when we don’t know the answer, we should just say so — and then shut up." Robinson whote about CNN's coverage of the MH370
As search for the missing MH370 moves into the second week, the Malaysian authorities, struggling with an unprecedented operation, continue to receive "bad press" especially from the Western media with local outfits, suffering from inferiority complex, are too keen to emulate.
No doubt, many among the young impressionable local journalists see the confident, articulate and smooth Western media personalities as models to style themselves after.
If only they are a little more discerning, they would have realised how arrogant, conceited and condescending some of these Western media hacks can be apart from being inaccurate, misleading, sensational and utterly baseless, as they themselves compete to justify their existence to their superiors.
What Malaysia is going through today is reminiscent of the 1997/98 economic crisis when the Western media, gleefully spinning yarns after yarns, predicting the collapse and end of Malaysia, a small nation that tried to modernise itself yet refusing to "submit" to the dictates of the West.
They were overnight financial and economic experts, literally telling Malaysia how it should manage its economy, accept the "helping hands" of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and swallow their prescriptions no matter how bitter.
And when Malaysia refused, the "attacks" by the Western media became concerted, predicting the worst and attempting to pummel Malaysia into submission.
The Malaysian opposition, many of them are still around and one or two of their personalities, were more than keen to be the conduit for the "IMF economic colonisation" of the nation.
However, Malaysia came out of it intact and in fact, its solution has become a term of reference by other nations facing similar economic downturn.
Ironically, some of the Western publications which had been critical and condescending on the way Malaysia managed its economy, are no more in existence or have been taken over by new managements, and guess why: it is because of their failure to manage their finances well.
Such things may be petty. However, to take the Western media's opinion too seriously can be devastating to the nation.
More of concern should be their bias. How they feel they can be so flippant in criticising small, developing nations but not doing likewise when dealing with their own countries.
This is especially glaring when, first the US and then Europe, suffered from economic downturns that they are still reeling from until today.
Where were the economic and financial experts from these Western media? Since they could foretell and lecture Malaysia and the smaller nations on the who, what, where, when, why and how; surely, their could have saved their own homelands of the blushes and sufferings.
But we digress.
Back to the MH370 and the Western media, The Mole had yesterday published an article written by a Malaysian who goes by the handle KijangMas Perkasa, and his views should have put some of these smug media practitioners to shame if not knock some decency into them.
Three days ago, The Mole had also published an article by a very articulate blogger Jebat Must Die, who, apart from expressing his disgust for a local politician's attempt to politicise MH370 while accusing the Malaysian Government of politicising it, had also exposed CNN's participation in the misrepresentation of what actually happened.
Of course, the Western media should not all be painted with the same brush and while his criticism is levelled at the CNN specifically and the CNN does not represent the Western media exclusively; but the practices of others had been similarly consistent.
But CNN which prides itself as setting the standards of Western journalism, is also the target of Washington Post columnist and frequent MSNBC talking head Eugene Robinson who didn't mince his words about what he felt about the manner CNN conducted its reporting on MH370.
The Mole is reproducing below an article of what Robinson felt about CNN:
Washington Post columnist and frequent MSNBC talking head Eugene Robinson has joined the chorus of critics arguing that CNN has gone too far with its wall-to-wall “speculation” about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 plane. In a new column, Robinson singles out CNN for chasing long-shot “theories” about what happened to the airliner rather than admitting they — like everyone else — don’t know what happened.
“Let me go out on a limb: The Malaysian airliner did not get sucked into a black hole, vanish over the Indian Ocean equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle or crash-land on the spooky island from ‘Lost,’” Robinson begins, citing one of Don Lemon more “preposterous” segments this week.
He acknowledges the ratings bump CNN has received from its coverage while also adding this disclosure:
“I do commentary for MSNBC, a competing network that also is obsessed with the lost plane.”
Of course, as Fox’s Bill O’Reilly pointed out on his show this week, MSNBC has likely done the least amount of coverage on the plane of the big three cable news networks.
Robinson ends his column with some advice for CNN and any other media organization trying to cover this story from all angles:
I think there must be something in all of us that is drawn to mysteries and disappearances. When stories are incomplete, we have an instinct to write endings. “What happened?” is the basic question that all journalism tries to answer.
But when we don’t know the answer, we should just say so — and then shut up. Endless content-free coverage deserves to be eaten by a black hole.
As long as viewers keep tuning in to hear what crazy theory CNN can promote next, it’s unlikely that they will heed his call.