A couple of hours ago I landed back at Manchester from Istanbul. I have an idea to write up a multi-part travelogue of my adventures in Turkey. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in reading it - it’ll mainly be pictures anyway! I’ll probably do it anyway for my own edification and to cement the memories of a fine holiday in my butterfly mind.
But… Before I do any of that. I have a more general observation to make inspired by my holiday.
The hotel room had sat TV so I saw bits of CNN pretty much everyday. Judging by the time checks it gave this appeared to be CNN’s Central/Eastern Europe and Near East service so what I’m about to say might not be true of the network globally but I’m going to say it anyway because I suspect it is. I haven’t seen CNN for years and I have to say it appears to be, as my brother would put it, on it’s arse. It cycled 1.5 stories until we started bombing Libya in desultory fashion at which point it switched to cycling 2.5 stories. Story #1 was of course the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and the resultant nuclear tribulations. Now obviously this is a big story but it is by no means the only story. CNN didn’t seem to either comprehend this fact or have the ability to report on any others and cycled the same footage of grieving and homeless Japanese and wrecked houses and cars and such ad nauseum until I switched to Al Jazeera which for all it’s many flaws at least didn’t think rolling news was sticking the same old on “shuffle” ’till Hell freezes over.
But what of the 0.5 of a story? Ah, yes… This was wild speculation by the likes of Wolf Blitzer (crazy name,
crazy guy utter moron) and chums as to what this would mean for US nuclear power stations and plans to build more. The nadir was reached when some anchor (a dense object dropped to the bottom of the sea - alas not the redoubtable Mr Blitzer* - some other twonk) opened a question to someone (I forget who) with, “Now I don’t know anything about nuclear engineering but it seems to me that…”** CNN is based in Atlanta of course and I know some rather nice bars around that city. If they had walked into say the The Treehouse in Peachtree Hills at 2am on any given Friday night with a mic and a camcorder they would have got more cogent commentary than CNN actually managed. Suffice to say the general tone of the coverage was ridiculous and at one point a guy who worked at a Californian nuclear plant looked like he was struggling manfully not to clock the CNN wonk who was obsessed with the idea that this Californian plant was not proof against the maximum quake you could get on the San Andreas fault. Several times the engineer attempted to make the point that whilst that may be the case his plant was located quite a way off from that fault and that the force of an earthquake diminishes with distance***. This to little avail. To put it bluntly the CNN wonk would not have been happy if the engineer could demonstrate his facility was proof against not just Godzilla but an entire army of Godzillas (and indeed Godzookies). (Stomach) churnalism worthy of Michael Moore himself though, to be fair, at least not done by someone who looked like a tramp’s mate.
The pièce de résistance though must go to CNN’s attempt to find mutants in Pennsylvania (I thought that was Mulder and Scully’s job?). Instead just next to the plant at Three Mile Island**** they found a middle-aged lady who had lived and raised her children “under the shadow of the plant*****”. She seemed like whatever about the whole thing which rather took the wind out of the CNN
distorter’s reporter’s sails. The lady’s profession? Nurse. It was delicious to watch.
I have little to say about CNN’s reportage on the bombing of Libya (now up to 2.5 stories on the carousel) except to say that their presenters spent a lot of time talking to each other all over the world saying the situation was “confused”. More telling as to the plight of CNN perhaps were the ad breaks which by and large consisted of advertising CNN itself and things about its campaign against “modern slavery” or having their United Colours of Benetton (flag?) staff muttering vaguely metaphysical platitudes about “going beyond borders”. But what of real news news-type news? They didn’t even seem to have sports results and seeing as last Friday I blithely wandered into Taksim Square in Istanbul during the build-up to the Istanbul derby between Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe I rather wanted to know how that match panned out because the atmosphere was sufficiently electric that all my previous musings here on electricity generation are moot. A copper rod and some cabling and I could have got the Large Hadron Collider up to 11 (that’s one quantumier). Anyway that story is for my up-coming travelogue. As is how I later came to know about the result…
So am I right? Is CNN up a creek without a paddle? It happens to a lot of companies who get there first and then rest on their laurels. It just seems to me as schlerotic, pointless and irrelevant as dear old Wolfie himself.
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and… reach for the remote.
*Sort of like David Frost without the wit or charm or incisiveness.
**There is a highly technical term for people who use such phraseology. It’s “twat”.
***OK, purely, geometrically that’s got to be something like 1/r2 (all other things being equal and then you’ve got to take into account dispersion (an exponential decline?)
****A non-event if ever there was one. When I switched to Al Jazeera I heard about an explosion in a Pakistani mine that has maybe killed about over fifty people.
Compare and contrast and tell me honestly which form of energy is objectively more dangerous?
*****For “plant” please feel free to substitute “death”.