As investigators move through day nine in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, media coverage and speculation contained therein also continues at a feverish pace. Is it too much? Is it at all inappropriate? Or, is it an important exercise in the quest for the truth and the fate of the 239 passengers on board? I would argue it is all of the above.
CNN and Fox News, in particular have been focusing the majority of their coverage on the mystery virtually around the clock – and it has often been riveting. With a story that is baffling the aviation and national security agencies, let alone the world, it is difficult for many of us to look away. The theories are numerous and new information is trickling in almost continuously. Like the O.J. trial and 9-11, no one has seen anything like it. We want to know more; we want to try to understand and solve the for now unsolvable.
Could a Boeing 777 be landed in a remote place? What could a rapid descent or ascent portend? CNN continues to take us into a flight simulator to give us a glimpse and a sense. Former pilots, ambassadors, security analysts and aviation experts and reporters are all being trotted out to give their take, the New York Times largely among them. It can make your head spin yet, as one talking head opined: In a case like this sometimes you need to throw a lot of possibilities out there as something is bound to eventually stick.
Yet, in theorizing what’s what, I feel greater caution should be exercised when it comes to pointing a finger at the flight crew, despite the fact that communications systems appear to have been deliberately turned off and evasive action taken. For now, none of us knows for sure what happened and, importantly, whether those initiatives were undertaken under duress. The apparently liberal modus operandi of one of the crew members when it came to guests in the cockpit and the home flight simulator of another should not be fodder for indictment.
Yet, overall and as always in such a story of international importance and human interest, the national news media is at its finest. In this case, holding a country to task for not being forthcoming, transparent or expedient in its efforts while continuing to report on what might have happened in order to figure out what ultimately did.