Monday, November 18, 2019
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Missing Malaysian plane: TV news fills airtime with speculation

NEW YORK CITY: On cable news this week, there weren’t many new revelations about that missing Malaysian Airlines jet. But there was plenty of speculation, theorizing and outright guessing about it.
No rumor was too small, no would-be scenario too outlandish to try it out: The plane had crashed. The plane had been hijacked. The plane had landed somewhere. Well, who really knew?
Certainly not CNN, which used its international reporting resources to go wall-to-wall with the story for much of the week. Among its competitors, it also was the network that went the most wild, as well.
On CNN on Friday, Richard Quest, the network’s bombastic business-news host, argued with aviation expert Tom Haueter about what had happened. Quest insisted it had something to do with equipment failure on the Boeing 777 jet.
But Haueter, a former official at the National Transportation Safety Board, offered a caution that CNN itself had more or less ignored all day. “I can put together a scenario to support any theory you want,” Haueter said. “Right now, everything is possible. We need more data.”
Undaunted, Quest pushed on. “My own theory . . .” he started before anchor Don Lemon interrupted him to cut to White House press secretary Jay Carney’s daily news briefing.