CNN’s Erin Burnett interviewed MIT Aviation Expert John Hansman about the tragic 747 crash in Bagram, Afghanistan. As she shows video of the jumbo jet ascending from the runway, stalling and then beginning its fatal plunge to the earth she asks the MIT professor, “Did something go wrong here, or not?”
This exchange raises a couple of important journalistic questions:
1. How much of an “expert” do you need to be to answer this question from Burnett? I mean, couldn’t a kindergartner have informed the CNN host that something did, in fact, go wrong here?
2. When crafting the question, why did Ms. Burnett feel the need to add the “or not” at the end? The inexplicable “or not” suggests that “No, no Erin. This is exactly what a 747 does when it takes off.” is an acceptable and reasonable option to the line of inquiry.
3. As the new regime at CNN cleans house, dumps dead weight and dismisses hosts who don’t advance the brand and add to the prestige the network is sorely lacking, what does it say that Ms. Burnett has made the cut?
Jeffrey Zucker, is something wrong with your cable news network, or not?