I turned on CNN looking for coverage of the Tohoku earthquake. I’m not sure I’m allowed to watch CNN anymore.

The first story I saw was about a YouTube video made by a New York senator that “teaches parents to spy on their kids”. The idea is that the parents learn how kids hide thing and where to look for drugs, weapons, or other dangerous items. I’m not sure this is news, but it seems okay if CNN spends a bit of time on human interest stories.

Thing was, though, CNN made this the “Your Views Question of the Day”. They solicited input on the Internet, then read comments users made on the air. Who care what Ricky from Indiana thinks about this story? Why is spending 90 seconds on reading reader comments, without analyzing them, at all useful?

Coverage moved to Hawaii, where some effects of the tsunami were felt. At 20 seconds, the segment was incredibly short and conveyed zero information. Why not show a map of Hawaii, drawing lines on the coast where green, yellow, and red indicate the severity of the damage? No damage reported? No line, then.

The description of the damage was hopelessly vague and un-insightful. Why dumb down such a simple report so severely?

The next story was about Rhode Island requiring high school students “to score at least partially proficient” on a standardized test in order to graduate. The coverage involved an interview with a representative with the ACLU, an organization with amiable goals but — as far as I can tell — zero influence or experience in the area of education or child development. What about the other side of the coin? Why not interview students who are bored because their classes cover material at the pace of the slowest student? Why not interview colleges or employers who are tired of teaching recent graduates things that they should have learned earlier in school?

The shallow depth of coverage, one-sided reporting, and shameless self-promotion leave me cold. Is there a news outlet that is acceptable?