Hardball Factor 360°: What I Didn’t Expect To Come Out of Flight 370

Have you guys heard about this whole Flight 370 deal? If you haven’t, where the hell do you live? If you have, I’m sure you will agree with me when I say: WOW! Of course, it’s incredibly unfortunate that we may be looking at a significant loss of human life and that the continued coverage is distracting from other stories, but WOW, this is a fun story to follow.

I think that I have, in the past, expressed my disdain for some of the effects of the 24-hour news cycle. Certainly, I hear a lot of complaints about it in the Spectator newsroom as well. I have to admit, though, that I don’t hate it. This 370 coverage, particularly on CNN, has got me rethinking the whole shebang. Yes, the concerns I addressed above are worthy of consideration, but just because the 370 coverage may not be as serious as coverage of the current events in Ukraine or as essential as analysis of drone and security policy in this country doesn’t mean it has no merit.

Those who are wholly dismissive of the 370 coverage, I’ve found, are largely pseudo-intellectuals making an incredibly ignorant mistake. Big, blockbuster news stories like this may not inform public policy, but that isn’t to say that they don’t have any value. I can’t even begin to quantify the number of 370-centric conversations I’ve caught wind of just walking down the street. Even at the Spectator, I’ve found myself in conversations with co-workers that I wouldn’t ordinarily be having conversations with about flight 370. Sure, the subject matter is sad, but the coverage of the story is fun and exciting, and speculating about the story is fun and exciting. I love that the story is bringing people to the conversation table together who wouldn’t ordinarily be sitting down, and I love that everyone in the country is talking about the same thing.

To me, it’s a reminder about how small our world actually is and how alike we all actually are when you get down to it. I mean, we live in a country of 300 million people that is, in a lot of ways, isolated from much of the rest of the world. All of a sudden, a plane goes missing thousands of miles away, full of just a couple of hundred people that most of us would never have even been remotely likely of coming into contact with, and we all find ourselves on the edge of our seats wondering, what happened?

Maybe speculating about the fate of 370 isn’t the most productive use of our collective energy, but the story has shown me that we do still have collective energy to be used. Despite all of the nonsense we’ve been through for the last several decades, we still have some capability to band together in one common direction, and that is an enormous relief. WOW!