The recent trials and tribulations around the space shuttle have made a nearly ideal story for the 24 hour networks to obsess over for several days.
The story has three of the key elements necessary for CNN or MSNBC (Fox only needs a Clinton angle) to enter into a serialized stupor of repeated coverage (well, in the case of CNN, there is the added question of whether or not anyone can manage to explain the issue to Larry King):
1. Weather. Enough said. If you haven’t noticed the 24 hour nets’ obsession with weather related news, then I’ve got a some beach-front property in South Florida I’d like to sell you.
2. Space. It’s not mandatory. But the news nets do lean towards stories sans gravity (not to mention the fact that in space, you can’t hear the words “no comment”).
3. Scandal. Nasa, as it turns out, has not figured out how to solve that problem with the large pieces of foam that have fallen off shuttles past. That means someone didn’t do their job (forget about that fact that these folks have figured out a way to send people into outer space, a mistake is a mistake and there is likely a decent chance for one political party to blame the other for the foam dislodging).
All that’s really missing for this story to reach the next level is a little good old fashioned sex appeal. Slap a pair of Angelina Jolie lips on the side of the shuttle and then we’ll be talking major coverage.