Tonight I was listening to Anderson Cooper (via Sirius) and he broke an unwritten rule of news: He criticized his competitors for overdosing on the Natalee Holloway story. Of course, CNN and Cooper can be accused of overdosing on a few stories of their own (ahem). But I’ll take a little news self-criticism, even if it is self-serving.
COOPER: Well, in Aruba, not much happened in the 11th week of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, but you’d never know that if you listen to just about every other cable news channel.
We did a number of stories after the American teen went missing and her family’s anguish is and hard to imagine and we understand why they want the story to remain in the news, but we’ve been kind of stunned, because every night, our cable competitors devote hours and hours to this story, even though, sadly, nothing new is happening. We decided to start tracking their coverage, because to be honest, it’s getting downright ridiculous. Here’s what the other guys were reporting just last night…
BILL O’REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Not much new in the Natalee Holloway mystery.
RITA COSBY, MSNBC HOST: The big mystery, of course, is taking place on the island of Aruba.
DAN ABRAMS, MSNBC HOST: Let’s go to Aruba. It’s getting ugly. Natalee Holloway’s mother is fighting back.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Meanwhile, a new battle is brewing between Natalee’s mom and a key suspect. We brought you that story last night. ….
O’REILLY: … 2 1/2 months, I’ve never seen in my 30-year career, a crime story covered this way, ever. It’s a mystery. It’s a soap opera. It’s a reality show and each night, people come in for the latest. I thought it would dissipate. I thought it would go away. It has not.
COOPER: It truly has not. The only thing we can honestly report to you tonight is that a young woman is still missing. A family is still in anguish. Until something else happens, until there really are developments, we’ll leave the rest to the other guys.
Until we get a good, juicy runaway bride, of course.