I wasn’t watching all the time, but the TV was on ABC-TV for most of it. I had tuned in to watch something or other and figured they’d have some coverage of the breaking event, then return to regular broadcasting plus a scroll on the bottom.
ABC News reported that plane of John F. Kennedy Jr. was missing.
Then the fact that his wife was on the plane.
Then the fact that his sister-in-law was on the plane.
Then the airport he took off from.
“In case you just joined us, JFK Jr. ‘s Plane has gone missing”.
Maybe one useful snippet of information per half hour, such as his destination and his flying record, interrupting the whole who JFK Jr. is to us, from the four-year-old son saluting his father’s casket – did he do that on his own or was he prompted by his mother? – to magazine publisher.
“In case you just joined us, JFK Jr. ‘s Plane has gone missing. He is the son of our 35th President. His wife and sister-in-law are reportedly on board. No comment from the Kennedy clan.”
Then more blather about his sister Caroline, his late infant brother Patrick, his late mother Jackie, and basic Kennedy lore.
“In case you just joined us, JFK Jr.’s Plane has gone missing”.
Finally, they did find the plane. By then seven hours of not much news had been aired.
It’s not that I didn’t care. He was a kid when I was a bigger kid. I watched his dad’s funeral. He was charismatic, far more the natural politician than his quite reserved sister. But it was a LOT of time for relatively LITTLE said.
This coverage was on the mind of a colleague of mine when we’d heard that a “small” plane had apparently hit one of the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001. The person said, “I hope that they don’t just show us hours and hours of a plane crash.”
Well, THAT didn’t happen…