Yesterday the comet probe Philae landed, bounced and hopefully settled on good old Comet 67P. This was a huge event if the number of jumping, shouting, hugging, crying European scientists is any indication. Being as far from a space geek as you can get, this soft landing really didn’t excite me. Ask me about the importance of comets and I’ll immediately tell you it was the backing up of legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll front-man Bill Haley when he sang Rock Around the Clock and other classics.
Aside from my lack of interest in outer space – I have enough trouble dealing with this world, I really don’t have time to start worrying about another – I blame CNN and its total lack of pre-landing hype for my not knowing about the landing. This huge event started ten years ago when the comet probe was hurled into space in the Rosetta Mission. It took that long to reach Comet 67P which is some 310 million miles from earth. So how did CNN let us down?
This is the network that can turn a strong nor’easter into something akin to Noah preparing the Ark. They hyped Hurricane Katrina for two days before it smacked into New Orleans, with wall to wall coverage of cars creeping along interstates in an effort to get out of the path. They built the anticipation to storm levels and were right in place to cover the tragic events that followed.
Even lesser weather conditions warrant at least a few CNN reporters out in windy/snowy/rainy streets or beaches. They struggle against the wind, looking like mime Marcel Marceau, while trying to tell us it’s bad out. No shit! One day CNN will understand that they don’t need to show their correspondents actually standing in a storm for viewers to see there is a storm. There are meteorologists with isobars and El Niños and Niñas aplenty to illustrate these things.
When the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing CNN went into overdrive covering the search. Miles O’Brien and Richard Quest and many others contributed to, coincidentally, around the clock coverage of a plane no one could see.
CNN should have been tipping-off viewers that a landing of a probe of significant importance was just days away. They should have had umpteen talking heads explaining the whole thing to those of us who may have developed an interest had we known. But no; I’m afraid CNN was caught with the pants of their G-Suits down on this one. I didn’t think anything really happened if CNN didn’t hype it!