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Missing Malaysian jet: 13 days of media frenzy and emotional frustration

On March 20, 13 days after Malaysian flight MH370 went missing, what information do we absolutely know about the fate of the plane?

After 13 days of searching media still finding "news" to fill hundreds of hours with theories and speculation.
Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

The answer can be stated in one sentence. It went missing sometime after it left Malaysian airspace, at about 1:19 a.m. Then why have hundreds of hours of airtime been dedicated to the unfortunate situation? It sells advertising and raises ratings.

Even the latest news on March 19 about floating debris in the ocean 1,400 miles off Perth feels like Swiss cheese. According to CNN on March 20 they have been reminded that this is one of five places in the world where oceanic garbage gathers. That means the debris found could be trash from shipping vessels, parts of ruined boats that broke up years ago, or even empty cargo containers that fell into the ocean.

Until the floating debris is positively identified as part of the Malaysian plane we still don’t know anything. That assumes debris is actually found since it would be continually moving, pushed by wind and water currents. Yet it has been the subject of all speculation despite the lack of daylight and visibility needed by spotter planes.

Since the plane went off radar it has become a topic of speculation, assumption, misinformation, and increasing angst for relatives and friends of missing passengers and crew.

On March 20 the Houston Chronicle compiled a list of some of the various scenarios discussed since the plane went off radar in an article entitled appropriately “Theories, both crazy and plausible, abound on Malaysian plane's disappearance.” Among the theories highlighted in the article is “one raised by YouTube commenters. They have zeroed in on Pitbull and Shakira's 2012 song ‘Get It Started.’ No, seriously. They're pointing out this lyric as evidence in the case: Now it's off to Malaysia, Pitbull sings at one point in the song. Two passports, three cities, two countries, one day.”

Neither official sources nor the media have respected the listening public. We see the same “experts” stretching out the tidbits of the daily information leaked to the media into hours of speculation. We quickly turn to the news to find out that the final words from the pilot were standard language. It is almost like someone has arranged to toss out one new tidbit to the media feeding frenzy and to keep us from looking in another direction.

Are we being told everything the authorities and intelligence community knows? People I’ve interviewed believe that we only been shown a small part of the whole picture. These same people indicated that most have some interest but that they are tired of hearing the theories promoted as “new information” and false leads that just fill airtime.

While we wait for daylight to continue the search, the media continues the talking to one expert after another regarding “the best new lead we have right now.” Never at a loss for yet another angle Fox News has started a new line of speculation: “What have terrorists learned from the last two weeks of non-stop media coverage about a missing plane?”

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