Editorial, Opinion

EDIT: Why are we over-speculating 370?

In the 10 long days that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has been missing, we’re only certain about one thing — no one actually knows where the heck that plane went.

The most concrete news that has developed since this plane went missing last week is that “an official news source who preferred to remain anonymous but is still closely connected to the issue” confirmed that this mystery is “likely” due to some sort of human intervention, and not just a mechanical failure.

Well, “official news source who preferred to remain anonymous but is still closely connected to the issue,” you don’t say?

People have been mulling over the plausible and possible theories, separating them from the implausible and the impossible — but also being sure not to rule anything in the process.

It is not hard to realize that a lot of pieces of this story just don’t match up. If the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean, then where is the debris? If it landed on the Andaman Islands, how did it sneak through a highly militarized landing strip? Where was the distress signal? And what about the two people with stolen passports who were on board?

Boeing 777 planes don’t just “disappear,” and we would be in denial to think that there isn’t critical information being withheld from us. In an age where we can track a missing iPhone from an app, it is incomprehensible that more than a 100 ships and aircrafts from 13 different countries cannot find a commercial jet airliner with a 200-foot wingspan.

With our highly globalized and connected society, we like to believe that our modern technology has eliminated any chance for mysteries like this one. However, the fact that a real-life version of “Lost” is possibly in the making, people are once again reminded of how fleeting and fragile our lives actually are.

In the past 10 days, various news sources, CNN in particular, have brought in dozens of analysts and experts to try and make sense of this travesty — “try” being the operative word.

Over the weekend, CNN had past Malaysian Airline pilots, aviation experts and historians talk about their theories. And to keep viewers interested, they brought in a psychologist to explain why everyone is so interested, and also someone currently in prison for forging passports to show how easy it is to in fact forge a passport. And, of course, all of this analyzing and theorizing was topped off with the compulsory, painful pictures of families yearning for their loved ones.

Not to discount the magnitude of this issue, but this missing airline has taken up more airtime than justified. In the past week, Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare was reported 3 million sign-ups short of its target and Crimea voted to join Russia. And, while we’re at it, a Harlem building exploded and a 6.7 earthquake struck off the coast of Chile.

The reason why these stories have been understated in the past week is because they have an answer, an outcome and an explanation. This issue, on the other hand, has none of that, any of which that we are aware, at least.

Flight 370 is a hard situation to believe, but easy news to digest. This missing airline is the “perfect storm” of news coverage. It’s not too “fluffy” where people won’t take it seriously, it has enough uncertainly to keep us tuning in, and most importantly, it has the perfect touch of “Hollywood” to draw in those normally disconnected from the news.

Developing news is fun to follow. The uncertainty is unsettling, but at the same time, it is also compelling. News sources know this, and that it is why they have given it so much attention.

This is the kind of news piece that will make people feel more informed than they actually are. Anyone can speculate the “plausible” and “implausible” over a cup of coffee, and since this situation itself is so absurd, it would be hard to discount anyone’s theory. Because, as the news reports keep reiterating, anything is possible in this situation.

Since the average American is somewhat disconnected from this issue and isn’t experiencing the same pain or loss that the other 239 families are, it is easy for us to constantly talk about this in a normal conversation. Yes, lives were probably lost and that is tragic. But devoting so much attention to this story when there are no real developments just perpetuates and instills paranoia in the viewers. If anything, this coverage will make people even more nervous when traveling.

So, rather than speculating and theorizing and hypothesizing, how about we just leave officials to focus on finding the plane before making assumptions that passengers, pilots or aliens took it away in thin air?

One Comment

  1. I could agree with what a few of the other posters have written in this article, but my opinion is surely a tiny bit