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media matters

CNN reporter: Plane coverage bought us time to report VA story

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CNN was widely mocked for its obsessive coverage of the missing Malaysian plane, but according to a report by Politico's Hadas Gold, the plane coverage might have enabled CNN's reporters to dig deeper into the explosive Phoenix Veterans Affairs scandal:

Those reporters hadn't quite nailed down an explosive story alleging serious misconduct at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Hospital, so they used the obsession over the plane to continue working, and then waited for a lull in the 24/7 Flight 370 coverage so they could pounce.

"Quite frankly, the plane coverage bought us some of that time, so that in April when we finally had it, I mean we didn't sit on it very long... we were all over it," said CNN Senior Investigative Reporter Drew Griffin of the Veterans Affairs report. "Once there was a news hole opening we were ready to go." [Politico]

Let's assume this is true, and not some sort of spin to explain away the obsessive plane coverage. Isn't it still sort of an indictment that these investigative reporters only had the leeway to dig into the VA story because of the plane story?

This reminds me a bit of the trend of whereby political websites now subsidize serious reporting and analysis with celebrity slideshows. This, perhaps, tells us much about the state of modern media. Is this the model of the future?