I tried the polite version of this argument last week – reminding everyone that, all things considered, the terrorist attack in Boston was handled well and did minimal damage – but a few days in airports, standing among CNN-blaring monitors, broke me. Why are we still talking about this? Let me qualify that; why are we still talking about this 24 hours per day?
Is it a story? Certainly. But jesus tap-dancing christ, watch a half-hour of CNN and witness the raw banality, the extent of the overkill being inflicted upon us at this point. It's a strange combination of wild speculation, Grief Porn, and countless interviews with individuals of no importance who do little more than idly chat about things already reported in the preceding weeks. Oh yes, let's hear from another of the attacker's college classmates. Another Marathon spectator and was kinda-vaguely near the bombing. Another important guest who will make blanket statements of dubious utility about Chechnya. Just shut up. For fuck's sake, even Fox News has moved on to something else at this point.
Look, I and the rest of the world are terribly sorry for the families of the three dead victims and the many survivors whose lives were changed forever. But my god, things of this magnitude happen every day. Here and abroad. When three people die in a freeway accident, we don't devote three weeks to it. When three people are gunned down in Chicago's South Shore, it's a blip on the screen. We pay almost no attention, here in 2013, to people who come back from Afghanistan or Iraq with a missing leg or disfiguring wound. Three people died, and for that we are all sad. But it was nearly three weeks ago, and the "manhunt" portion of the show is long over. Let it go.
What is CNN even going for here? Are they drawing out the coverage to overcompensate (and do penance) for how horribly they botched the real-time reporting? Are they trying to flank Fox News on the right, baiting viewers with more Islamophobia and Keifer Sutherland-like tales of clandestine terror, Enhanced Interrogation, and Russian secret agents? This has turned into a D-list Tom Clancy novel, and it's approximately as entertaining.
At this point it is almost interesting to see how long they can hold out before they stop doing 24-hour Boston coverage. Almost.