People sometimes call MRC HQ and tell us that a cable network has mysteriously dumped out of live coverage in a way that seems suspiciously political. My first impulse is to think that sometime daytime producer on their third coffee might have just glitched a bit. I saw a weird case of this jumping in and out of live coverage this morning at 10:40 AM Eastern time. At a Congressional Black Caucus event, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. started complaining about the media giving too much coverage (and disapproval) of looting, when CNN gave him the hook.
JACKSON: Katrina did more than devastate property, it devastated and it has shattered lives. I believe and am fundamentally appalled at the idea that this news media mass now shifted the emphasis from the devastation that people's lives, people who only owned a pan, people who lived in a shotgun home, people who had one television set, whose lives have been completely devastated by this horrific tragedy, the news media has now shifted the conversation from the devastation that their lives have experienced, that their families have experienced to what people do in desperate circumstances, including steal... [volume trails off during last word]
ANCHOR DARYN KAGAN: We are covering the emotional and the technical as well. On the left hand of your screen, the national black -- Congressional Caucus having a news conference, calling for a stronger reaction, a stronger response from the federal government. On the right-hand part of your screen, the news conference we're about to go to, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talking about what could possibly be done about the levee break in New Orleans.
Then after about two minutes, Kagan dumps out of the new press conference and goes back just in time to catch Jackson's goodbye:
LT. GEN CARL STROCK: ...I know there's a lot of interest on how long it will take, and I really can't comment on that now. We should have a better feel once we really, truly analyze the situation. But that's dependent on the size of the breaches we make in the levee. A small breach, obviously, takes longer the drain. The challenge is the...
KAGAN: We've been listening in to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talking about what to do about the water and levee situation in New Orleans.
Now we return back to Washington D.C. And the national -- the Congressional Black Caucus.
JACKSON: Let's go to work now and rebuild America. Thank you very much.
So let's guess what all this means? Was CNN a) squelching the media-bashing in self defense; b) crushing Jackson like a white oppressor; c) saving a raving leftist from ruining his party's image; or d) just having trouble deciding what was newsy? You decide.