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.

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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?

CNN finally seems to have woken up from their nap today and has started covering the Ukraine crisis in a serious way, and it took the Russian Parliament voting for military action for them to do so.  Not that there wasn’t ominous stuff going on in that part of the world before today, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at my TV machine.

Once again, I’m completely frustrated by the lack of international news coverage in the American media.  I like MSNBC for the political stuff–yes, I admit it, they reflect my bias–but they’re better on the domestic stuff.  I can’t take Fox News for the constant Obama bashing–I think that’s their full-time job at this point.  And CNN has been useless lately.  Endless Oscars specials and Justin Bieber gossip, while the world has been coming apart at the seams.  Were they joking about the “News” part of their name?

So I’ve been left with Al Jazeera.  They’ve been doing in-depth reporting on the Ukraine, and it’s been quality reporting that doesn’t appear to be too heavily biased in one direction or another.  I realize that a lot of people wouldn’t touch Al Jazeera, mainly because of who has created and owns the channel.  All I can say to that is that I would gladly watch American news channels if they improved their coverage of the world outside our borders.  But as long as they continue focusing on awards show red carpet BS, I don’t have too many options.

A few days after the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion, we were watching a news report about it on Polish TV.  The news anchor pointed to a black and white picture of Chernobyl.  It was a picture of the plant before it had exploded.

“You see, ladies and gentlemen, nothing happened.  Everything’s fine.”

There were political reasons for Eastern bloc television to cover up the accident.  It had happened in the Soviet Union, and our Russian big brothers were supposed to be perfect.  Nothing was ever supposed to go wrong in their Communist paradise.  Also, May Day was coming up, and the government wanted everyone out on the streets for the May Day parade.  The last thing they needed was people hiding in their homes, scared of radiation.

But we knew they were lying to us.  There was word of mouth information being spread by friends who had visited Russia and knew the real story.  Also, we had a farm and we saw the way the animals behaved.  The birds in the trees, which had been waking us up each morning with their early spring noise, fell silent.  The dog cowered in his doghouse and the chickens wouldn’t leave their coop, unwilling to come outside even to be fed.  We knew something bad was going on, but there wasn’t much we could do to protect ourselves.  We’ve been lucky, though–we haven’t experienced serious health effects due to our little brush with radioactivity.

Fast forward to now.  Another nuclear plant has had an accident–this time in Japan.  And again, I feel like I’m not getting the real story.  The media here in America isn’t doing anything as blatantly silly as showing us pre-tsunami pictures of Fukushima.  But the news about the continuing leakage of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean is painfully underreported.  I’m reading about the contaminated ocean currents reaching the California and Oregon coasts, and yet we’ve been spending more time on the Duck Dynasty bullshit.  What are we choosing to focus on?

I live on the West Coast, so the radiation is once again moving in my direction.  Maybe I’ve built up some kind of green glowing immunity by now, but still.  When I moved to this country, I expected more open communication in my news media.  Am I being given the Chernobyl act all over again?

Turning on the news late at night.  Storms devouring people.  Bombs devouring people.  People devouring animals.  How humane were the methods used to devour the animals, they ask?  Animals devouring animals.  Weeds consuming abandoned cities.  Politicians trying to find creative ways to tear each other to pieces.

We listen to the world and we know that the world is not good–this place created on the basis of devouring–no matter how much we try to tell ourselves that it is.  Perhaps all we have left are temporary moments of kindness in our own lives, at least during those times when we aren’t forced to be predatory as well.  Otherwise, let the world devour itself.

When I criticize Fox News for being biased, I frequently get the response from avid Fox watchers that Fox is not biased, it is in fact objective, especially as compared to the liberally slanted “lamestream” media.

But then there’s stuff like this article about the sequester.  The article actually states:  “Republicans want to replace the current regime of cuts with different, more sensible, cuts.”

Huh? Now keep in mind, this is a news article, not opinion.  Last time I heard, the Republican version of “sensible” involved going after Social Security and Medicare as a first priority.  Going after the elderly, sick and disabled, who already don’t have very much, is not sensible.  Especially if you refuse to consider any other sources of revenue.

And just as importantly, saying that one party is “more sensible” than the other is clearly opinion and bias.  I can’t imagine a news source like the BBC, for instance, injecting a phrase like this into their reporting, without it being a quote from somebody else.  I can imagine MSNBC using this kind of wording, but then I’m fully willing to admit that MSNBC is biased in the liberal direction–that’s why I enjoy watching them so much.

Perhaps those who watch Fox should also be able to admit that it’s not objective and that is why they love it.