If you’ve been watching TV news recently, you know about the vacationing teenager who went missing in Aruba. On the broadcast networks alone, there have been nearly 200 news segments on Natalee Holloway; on cable there have been many more. Network execs apparently see this kind of story as a recipe for success, and so they’re joining forces to give the people what they want. With a nod to the blogger who calls himself “The Poor Man,” we introduce the new network devoted to tracking the every move of white women, around the clock and around the world.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: A headline in this week's USA Today declares that sending teens on group trips can be harrowing - part of that paper's in-depth coverage of missing vacationer, Natalie Holloway. Apparently, it also makes great television. On her blog, huffingtonpost.com, Arianna Huffington points out that NBC News aired 62 segments on the missing teenager in May and June. Compare that with six segments on the Downing Street Memo during the same period. And CNN - 294, compared to 30 for the memo. Which got us thinking about the future of TV news.
ANNOUNCER: In a surprise move expected to send shock waves through the world of TV journalism, CNN, the original cable news network, and NBC, which owns cable channels MSNBC and CNBC, announced a deal to consolidate their news divisions into a single giant network. The new network, to be called Where the White Women At or WWWA, is set to debut this week. CNN spokesman Jack Little explained the deal at a press conference Monday.
JACK LITTLE: For most of history, journalists could afford to spend their time covering wars, famines, politics and business. The reason for this is that everyone knew where the white women were at - at home, probably in the kitchen, minding the kids. Sometimes they were out shopping or knitting at a friend's house or, or even working as elementary school teachers, but by and large, the location of all white women was known. However, society has changed, and the business of journalism has changed with it. These days, with the increased opportunities available to white women, as a nation we are losing track. White women are disappearing in Aruba, from their jobs as Washington interns and even right before their own weddings. With this merger, we will increase the breadth and depth of our missing white women coverage, and so we meet our sacred obligation to keep the electorate informed and aware about where the white women are at.
ANNOUNCER: The new network will include WWWA Headline News which will deliver key missing white women developments every half hour. Most of the network's time will be devoted to covering current missing white women, but there will also be talk shows where groups of white men get together to discuss the significance of past missing white women, imperiled white women and white women in persistent vegetative states. WWWA debuts in most markets on Monday. Coming up, missing white boy scout found in Utah. [THEME MUSIC]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: We stole that gag from the Poor Man, with his permission, or rather from his website, thepoorman.net. 58:00 That's it for this week's show. On the Media was produced by Megan Ryan, Tony Field, Jami York and Mike Vuolo, and edited by me. Dylan Keefe is our technical director and Jennifer Munson our engineer. We had help from Paul Heintz. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl. Katya Rogers is our senior producer and John Keefe our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. This is On the Media, from WNYC. I'm Brooke Gladstone. [MUSIC TAG]