! CNN Reliable Sources – “Too Much 370 Plane News Coverage?”

Watch CNN "Reliable Sources" today (3/30/14), hosted by Brian Stelter.



TOPIC: CNN - RS: "What lessons have we learned about the media in these last three weeks of missing plane coverage? And what lessons have news organizations learned?"


  • James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic
  • Andrew Beaujon, a Media Reporter and Blogger at Poynter
  • Alan Murray, President of the Pew Research Center

"In Show" References: "Pew Survey that showed about 60 percent of people feel news organizations are providing the proper amount of plane coverage - or not enough. About 33 percent said there's been too much coverage."

Murray will also discuss the findings from this year's State of the News Media report by Pew.

Pew Study: http://tinyurl.com/news-370plane-too-much

Sub-Text Topic:

James Fallows points out that news journalism for breaking news stories is moving to Internet websites such as:  Huffington Post, Mashable, Gawker, Buzz Feed, Many new smaller sites with 3-4 people with (grassroots) funding are moving into news journalism and taking up where news stations leave off.

Caesi Bevis: "Please watch the show and draw your own conclusions.  It is an excellent example of "why" you, as the Viewer, need to do your own due diligence research to get raw facts, analyze the statistical data that you or someone else collects, be aware of 'sample size', and draw your own conclusions. It's time to THINK (!)  - not just absorb what news media is feeding you some of the time.

CNN  - "Reliable Sources" today turns the microscope on the news program journalism across all networks to see if they are "doing a good job".

I don't think it accomplished its goal. Some conversation threads were "shut down" and rather than offering accurate critical thinking, the show seems to posture to do this - but in the end just patted itself on the back, rather than looking at the facts of the study it mentions. This felt like a "hypothesis ("maybe it is too much") and perhaps the execs said "make sure the study concludes that it "isn't too much coverage - get there however you want." This happens in statistical research frequently when you have the funding party controlling the outcome of the statistical research. Stats can be shaped in many ways.

"Here is a case of  limited poll participants, questionable interpretation of statistics, glass - half-empty or full - "conclusion-drawing", mis-labeling, and re-packaging of the information to hopefully sell it to you."

Interpreting the Pew Poll

1. Pew Research claims nearly half of American Viewers are happy with the amount of news coverage on the 370 missing plane story.

2. CNN "Reliable Sources" says nearly one-third (33%) of Viewers are happy with the amount of news coverage on the 370 missing plane story.

3. Crisis -Consulting: Neither are right, or wrong. Both are misleading by leaving out critical information relevant to the Viewer to be able to analyze and interpret the poll results for themselves!

  • Too few people were asked. Sample size is too small!
  • Depending on how you look at the stats - and who is the Viewing Audience -base on this tiny sample, it seems it is approaching 75% of the Viewing Audience is thinking there is too much news coverage on this story. If most of the cable network News Viewing Audience has at least some college. When you have 45% and 35% of formally educated groups telling you "too much coverage" (see below) - I think there are other reasons these networks are staying on this human interest story this long.
  • The other "options" Pew gave the poll-takers for "other news stories" were all stories with limited range, at this point, except Crimea and the Russian take-over. This story hasn't been developed fully yet to draw interest to it. Most Americans don't know how Russia's invasion and takeover of Crimea will touch their day to day lives. Cable news stations need to bring this side of the story "home" - so it "lands" with Viewers. Other options for news stories: Economy, Obamacare, Government Surveillance, Congressional Elections, and a Toyota recall.  The other stories are all "long-range" stories except for the Toyota story. Where is our NEWS????!  Are you telling me in 50 U.S. states and several territories there there is no "news of the day" issue that should be covered?

"Reliable Sources" Best Awkward Moment:

Andrew Beaujon makes a statement about the fees charged to networks for rebroadcasting of (video?) and that 'they have to keep the story running to cover costs.'  Brian Stelter, the Host, shuts down "that conversation thread" rapidly, with a "look" of "don't go there".  [Ah, thank you,  Andrew. I live for rare moments like this when someone's truth really slips out!]

"Best Quote (Paraphrased)  - Transcript isn't available yet" -

Brian: (paraphrased)  "Experts are running out of ways to say 'we just don't know what happened'. " [Finally! Someone is admitting it - the "talking heads" are repeating the same thing - there is no new news until there IS new news." This is no longer a "news story. It's a human interest story - not a lead news story."]

So - What does this  March 20-23, 2014 Pew Poll REALLY Say?  

  • 12-15% of people asked thought there was "too little coverage".

["Do they even watch TV??? It's back to back coverage. Short of taking all other news off tv - how could you give this story more news coverage time?]

  • 41% of Republicans and 34% of Independents say "too much coverage" compared to 25% of Democrats.

[So if this is "true", then maybe we will see national news coverage coverage on cable news stations that "lean right" will be our escape from the story and maybe see some other news breaking through.]

  • 45% of college graduates and 35% of poll-takers who have had some college think that there is too much coverage of this story.

[The formally educated are growing tired of the news black-out and want real news.]

So - Who Did Pew Ask for this Poll?

"A national sample of 1,002 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (501 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 501 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 299 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older." - From the Pew Poll Report  - pg. 6 (see PDF - The Report will also loaded into our private website library for Members.)

Here is the full Pew Report: http://tinyurl.com/Pew-Report-370plane-news-pdf

About the Changing Scene of "Where to Get Your News"

[Traditional media news delivery is shifting to human interest stories, or ad nauseum non-news called "breaking news" harping on the same story(ies) over and over with no new angle or information. Perhaps Andrew  is right? It is about the cost of delivery of the clips - it is pricing these stations out of the market to deliver different news stories.]

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Caesi Bevis, Author / Speaker Bio

Bevis Consulting

Bevis Consulting

Principal of Bevis Consulting. I am a Futurist, Research Writer, Public Speaker, Voice Over Professional, Consultant, and Expert Witness with over 20+ years background in competitive intelligence, market research, and 13+ years in legislation research and consulting in both the U.S. and Canada. My marketing expertise in recent years includes social network and Internet marketing. I am the former President of the Canadian Business Intelligence Association. My PhD coursework is in Human Behavior Leadership, with an MBA with an International Finance focus, BBA with core courses in Marketing and AA in Advertising Design.

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