You weren’t the only one to cringe when CNN anchor Don Lemon engaged in some wild on-air speculation earlier this year about the missing Malaysian Airlines plane. So did Lemon’s boss.
When there is a news event that captures the public imagination, it will dominate CNN and preempt the prime-time shows. Zucker calls it “swarming and owning the big breaking-news stories.” The strategy was most vividly on display during CNN’s breathless—and seemingly endless — coverage of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, lowlighted by anchor Don Lemon speculating on camera that the missing plane might have flown into a black hole. (Zucker was frustrated by the gaffe: “Don, don’t be an idiot.”)
Lemon took CNN’s breathless coverage of the missing plane to outrageous extremes, once devoting airtime to a discussion of nearly every conspiracy theory associated with the disappearance.
He even wondered if the mystery was the result of a “supernatural” event, a suggestion he may well have taken from a random Twitter user.