CNN Floods the Flood Zone


Industry insiders are aghast at new CNN chief Jonathan Klein’s appalling lack of sensitivity to the tsunami disaster in his ongoing media tour today. Klein told USATODAY that CNN was “able to flood the zone immediately.”

“It’s jarring,” said one news executive. “This guy’s obsessed with associating himself with the coverage of this tragedy and he royally sticks his foot in his mouth his first time out of the gate — could there be a worse choice of words to use after 150,000 people just died in an epic flood of waves?”

Well, certainly Klein could have chosen better words. But my guess is that, what with a hundred thousand plus decaying corpses piled up, the infrastructure destroyed, and fears of disease and starvation, most people in the region have more important things to worry about than this.

And, while it may be “jarring,” the fact of the matter is that news organizations make their reputations with their coverage of major events, usually catastrophic ones. Local stations hype their weather teams’ coverage of the most recent tornado. National networks hype their scoops in wars, natural disasters, and other human tragedies. It’s crass but inescapable.

Update (1424): Bill at INDC agrees that the story is being hyped. He also notes that Klein made the infamous comment, “Bloggers have no checks and balances . . . [it’s] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. CNN was also “in the driver’s seat” when it came to coverage of the Princess Diana crash.

    Their coverage of the insurgency has been simply “blowin’ up.”

    They were “in at the ground floor” in covering the 9/11 attacks.

    And other networks really did “reap the whirlwind” in CNN’s hurricane coverage…

  2. Herb Ely says:

    Has that news executive never made a thoughtless off-the-cuff comment? It seems to be a minor issue. Drudge should never have made an issue out of it. Others who would might reflect on John 8:7 “let him whos with out sin cast the first stone.”