Malaysian plane still not news news.


A friend and I discussed this the other day – before this story slipped to page 5 of most news nodes.

Is ‘the absence of something’ more or less newsworthy, the longer the absence continues?

We are certainly used to seeing Tabloids making non news into long running story arcs – (“Lady Diana was killed by….” “The McCanns were not using…”).  In this case however what we have is a deepening mystery, but no news. As such, the usual 7-10 day law of the news story arc tends to apply.
It’s been fun to see various outlets feature certain types of expert on this matter – Radio 4 found a “Catastrophe insurance expert” talking about the possibility that the controls of the aircraft were remotely taken over by computer – since this had happened with a drone that was landed safely by a third party (should have had fully comp – Ed.). This could be done without the involvement of the pilot she said…

Well there is some pet theory fun to be had there, sure, but a drone doesn’t have expert crew and 200+ passengers in possession of mobile phones –  so the safe landing theory surely has to take a bit of a tumble unless it has some heavy duty hijackers thrown into the mix.

Applying Occam’s razor to this story doesn’t give you a nice simple solution, but it does rule out a fair few of the more lurid speculations about the fate of this Boeing 777 “smart plane” – and I find it hard to think of any of the Razor cut down ideas involving living passengers.  We should not be surprised that there have been several false dawns and leads – when there is no real news speculation and media hunger can quickly turn a genuine news story into a “Fox news” story.  None of these have changed the basic picture one iota…The most obvious answer to me is that, while someone did manage to turn off communications and do something weird – like try and fly the plane incognito to an unknown destination – their plan went wrong (passenger revolt as in United 93?) and the plane sank without trace into some deep ocean… as it is fully entitled to do under the laws of gravity.

The frustrating thing is that, given the search area is now over a few billion square miles,  it is also perfectly feasible for this to be a mystery that outlasts your and my lifespans. Now that’s non-news.

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