Skip to 3:35 for your media moment du jour and for the pitch-perfect reply from a guy who’s somehow managed to retain his sense of perspective better than CNN despite having spent the past three days floating around on a giant toilet. If you think conditions onboard weren’t that bad, read Lileks’s thoughtful piece this morning at the Bleat. Scorching heat, power outage, no showers, few working toilets for 3,000 people, and oh that stench: It was awfully unpleasant generally and 10 times as unpleasant for the crew, which had to cope with all that while tending to passengers for whatever pittance the cruise line pays them.The cabins got so hot without A/C that people had to drag their mattresses into the hallways and sleep there. But it was over after a few days. No one died. They even got free booze! And yet cable news was treating this last night, in the words of one person on Twitter, like it was the POWs coming home from Vietnam. I spent an hour watching Erin Burnett and Martin Savidge jockeying for position amid a gigantic media scrum so that they could ask departing passengers important questions like “Would you ever take another cruise?” and “Are you glad to be back?” (Spoiler alert: They were glad to be back.) The high point, I think, was when respected financial reporter Burnett assured the viewers at home that she could indeed “smell it” from their position on the dock. But then, that’s been a recurring theme of CNN’s coverage: Over on their website’s video page, where they post the most highlight-worthy stuff, they’ve got more than one clip up illustrating why the term “poop deck” took on special meaning on this trip. Their inexplicably intense interest in this unfortunate, occasionally snicker-worthy, but otherwise mundane “story” extended online yesterday morning to carrying a live feed of the boat being tugged to shore. That’s all it was, a long shot of a gigantic ship inching its way towards the coast, for minutes on end. Watch Stewart in the second clip below for thoughts on that; it did indeed reach the point late last night, during saturation coverage of the big disembarking, where you began to wish they’d get back to talking about Marco Rubio taking a sip of water. Normally this would be an easy choice as cable news’s low point of the week, but after a segment wondering whether Rubio’s hydration is a “career-ender” and the increasingly de rigueur Christopher Dorner apologetics, I’m not sure this even cracks CNN’s top two. Coming next week, presumably: Wolf Blitzer holds a panel discussion with “survivors” to find out where on deck, exactly, each of them pinched one off.
Exit quotation: “It’s like being locked in a Porta Potty for days.”