There must have been some mighty long faces in the CNN newsroom when the missing Malaysian airplane story petered out. Now what were they going to obsess about 24/7? Maybe…serious news? Like the midterm elections? Ha! Who are we kidding?

Well, praise the good Lord for creating the little wiggly bugs and the germs, because now CNN has ebola. Is ebola a serious topic? Yes, but not when CNN is covering it. First, there was the endless dissection of what the nurses at Texas Presbyterian Hospital might or might not have been wearing when they treated Thomas Eric Duncan. It’s one thing to report that there were significant lapses in hospital protocol. It’s another to spend many hours speculating about what these lapses might have been because you’re trying to kill time before the next CDC conference. Then, when the nurses were being moved to other hospitals, CNN treated us to live coverage of the vehicles transporting the nurses, including ominous shots of the airplanes which were going to fly them to their destinations. Why did we need to see that? Were there infectious bodily fluids condensing on the wings? This provides more evidence for my personal theory that CNN + airplanes = pure ridiculousness.

So thank you, CNN, for showing us yet again that you are capable of taking any news story and riding it straight into carnival barker territory.

Ah, but there was also something missing for me in the coverage…some elusive element…I mean, besides substance. I wasn’t sure what it was, but then I remembered Don Lemon playing with his toy plane, and it all came back to me. The news anchors need a prop! And I know just the thing–the plushie version of the ebola germ, brought to us by Giant Microbes. You can take your plague reporting to a whole new level of dramatic when you’re waving an actual germ around in the studio. Hope you listen to my advice, CNN! You can’t make things much sillier than you already have, you know.

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Yes, a few weeks later CNN is still talking about the plane.  More panels of experts explaining to us that they have no idea what happened, more viewer e-mails speculating about what the official investigation may have missed (“Why isn’t anyone exploring the Jodi Arias angle?”).

Which makes me wonder, what happens if the plane is never found?  Will the coverage just go on indefinitely?  Years from now, will an elderly Anderson Cooper still be debating the merits of the “zombie plane” theory?  Will a senile Don Lemon continue playing with his plastic jumbo jets?  And in a few decades, that cockpit simulator should be even cooler.

But then I remind myself that at some point in the future, there will be another murder trial.  There is always another murder trial.  Anything to keep from reporting on serious news.

Okay, enough with the breaking news coverage of the missing Malaysian airplane already.  Not that this isn’t a tragedy and a huge mystery all wrapped into one–it definitely is.  But we’ve now had several days of wall to wall coverage of a story we don’t really have any information about.  So what we get is a parade of experts (read: people who once flew on a plane) theorizing about what might have happened in a hypothetical universe, and we get CNN’s Don Lemon playing with a plastic toy Boeing that’s “exactly” like the real one.  Who wouldn’t love that gig?  If I have to hear the words “All right, good night” one more time, I’m going to take a U-turn into the ocean myself.  Nobody knows if those words mean anything, nobody knows if they’re important or not.  And I can’t see how endlessly dissecting half-imagined facts is helping those who have loved ones missing in this disaster.

I finally had to turn the television off when one of the hosts shared this gem with the audience:  “And this shows that whatever happened, happened.”  Thank you for your deep insights, news media.  How did we ever make it through crisis situations without you?