We freely admit that we haven’t the slightest idea what happened to that missing Malaysian airliner, but the rules of modern media apparently require that we offer some baseless theory about the matter. The best we can come up with is that those darned Koch brothers had something to do with it, and that they somehow landed it at the same tiny airport here in Wichita where that gigantic cargo plane accidentally landed a while back, and that the Citizens United decision has something do with it, so we’re going to go with that.
Although this is completely absurd, at least it is more plausible than a CNN anchor’s recent on-air speculation that the plane was swallowed by a black hole. Our theory also avoids the racist implications of the term “black hole,” which some people have actually griped about, and these days even the Washington Post will believe almost any fanciful conspiracy theory you can cook up about the Koch Brothers. We note that CNN’s constant coverage of the missing Malaysian airplane story and it’s blatantly racist speculating about it has been a ratings bonanza for the beleaguered network, so we can hope that our more politically-correct musings will have a similarly helpful effect on our traffic.
There has already been considerable media coverage about the media coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner, which will no doubt prompt some serious media coverage of the media coverage of the media coverage, but at the risk of being redundant we also have a theory about that. The more high-minded media critics have objected to the pointless theorizing in absence of any meaningful facts to be reported, and rightly so, but then they engage in their own fact-free theories about the motive. Ratings and ad revenues and a need to fill all that air time they aren’t devoting to the Internal Revenue Service scandal or the disintegration o the world order are all valid reasons, obviously enough, but we believe it’s mostly because deep down in their ink-stained souls journalists loathe admitting they don’t know what the hell is going on.
Aside from its prima facie plausibility, this theory is also bolstered by decades of experience with journalists. Our many years of journalism brought us into contact with hundreds of these people, and we can confidently generalize that by and large they are about the most cocksure bunch of know-it-alls you’ll ever have the misfortune to come across. Most truly believe that the people still look to them for the truth, and for that matter The Truth, and whenever they’re fresh out of the stuff they’re simply too embarrassed to admit it. Almost every editor of our experience has insisted on knowing even the unknowable, and such excuses as the votes haven’t been counted yet or they haven’t brought all the bodies out yet have always been found unacceptable. It’s a fateful hubris that has led to many a red-faced retraction, but it is bred in the journalistic bone.
The happy result of all of those restractions is that the public takes this nonsense less seriously, even as it tunes in ever-greater numbers for the sheer entertainment value, and one can only hope they note the absurdity of the rest of it.
— Bud Norman