Friday, March 14, 2014 at 5:25 AM

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 … ‘Lost’

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 7.38.59 PMHere, courtesy of a March 12 report by CNN, are the few known facts:

  • On Saturday, March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. bound for Beijing.
  • There were 227 passengers and 12 crewmembers on board the plane that was scheduled to arrive at 6:30 a.m.
  • About 45 minutes after takeoff, Malaysian air traffic controllers lost contact.
  • At that point the plane was over the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam and had about seven hours of fuel left.
  • About two hours after takeoff, Malaysian Air Force radar tracked the plane at its last known location in the Strait of Malacca – hundreds of miles off its scheduled flight path.
  • As of today, despite missions that smack of large-scale international military exercises, air and sea search and rescue teams have found no trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

That’s it folks. Nobody knows what became of it.

Lost_by_CoolRikWhich is why your guess about what happened is as good as that of any of the experts of every stripe who have been filling up hours and hours of TV floating all kinds of scenarios – from a hijacking to a Bermuda Triangle-like disappearance.

My own scenario follows the takeoff for the TV series Lost. All things considered, those on board should be so lucky….

Incidentally, the vast majority of passengers on board were Chinese. Only three were American. Hence, am I the only one who thinks it makes a mockery of China’s posturing as a superpower rising, to say nothing of its professed concern for the plight of its own citizens, that Americans, Australians, and even New Zealanders are not just leading search and rescue missions, but deploying the most resources for these efforts as well? The media have been replete in recent years with stories about how rich China has become. Yet, whenever it comes to humanitarian disasters and tragedies like this, it’s always the United States to the rescue – with China MIA.

Of course, experts will continue offering “informed” speculation. And the media will continue peddling their speculation, ad nauseam, as “breaking news” – complete with disingenuous disclaimers about not wanting to peddle speculation. Indeed, you know they’re just drumming up suspense for ratings when news anchors begin posing leading questions like: I know U.S. authorities have debunked this theory, but what do you think it says about what happened if it were true…?

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 5.21.11 PMIn other words it doesn’t even matter that the premise of their questions has no basis in fact; they pose them just to manufacture suspense and justify their obsessive reporting on an incident that has produced nothing newsworthy since it happened seven days ago.

Alas, given the popularity of shows like Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty, it’s hardly surprising that there’s an audience for this speculative, redundant, idle-minded fare. But just as MTV made a mockery of its call letters by featuring more reality shows than music videos, CNN is doing the same by featuring more manufactured suspense than real news. And, to be fair, let me hasten to add that every news station would be doing exactly what CNN is doing if it thought it too could generate higher ratings.

Meanwhile, remember the civil war (and attendant humanitarian catastrophe) in Syria, or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or the anti-government riots in Venezuela … all of which are still as newsworthy today, if not more so, as they were before Flight 370 disappeared?

Anyway, instead of adding to this babel of self-serving rumor mongering, I shall suffice to declare my firm belief that this mystery will eventually be solved and extend my despairing hope and best wishes to all family members affected. But there’s no denying my consternation over the fact that, despite all the advances in radar and avionics, this Malaysian jumbo jet disappeared without a trace today just as Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed prop plane did 77 years ago.

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