Flying is a hassle these days — what with the looming threat you'll be body-slammed by a militarized gate agent, or that you'll be forced to wait on the tarmac for six hours with the U.S. Seat-Kicking National Team, or the possibility that you may be have to sit next to a centrist D.C. pundit — the list of potential miseries goes on and on.
So let's talk about a commonsense reform that would make the flying experience more pleasant for all travelers:
You know those televisions that play at the gates in the airport? Those televisions shouldn't show CNN anymore.
At many airports, the news is inescapable. It plays at every gate, and every bar, and at the screens over baggage claim in Atlanta (CNN’s headquarters). You can't walk ten feet without being reminded that our president rage-tweets from the toilet each morning, his talking points set by a morning show on Fox.
The news today is stressful, and no one makes it more stressful than CNN (this goes without mentioning the network’s recent journalistic imbroglio). When I am waiting for Zone 13 to begin boarding, I do not need to compound my anxiety by watching a ten-person split screen where the gaunt visage of Jeffrey Lord gets pundit-bukkaked over Trump's latest idiotic tweet about North Korea.
The news today is stressful, and no one makes it more stressful than CNN.
I would like to enjoy my last moments on the ground before taking my place in a metal tube without having to envision the apocalypse. I don't need a countdown clock. I don't need BREAKING NEWS graphics exploding at my face. I don't need to see Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office, flanked by Gay Conversion Robo-Veep and the Mucinex mascot in a rumpled suit.
Grant me an hour of peace. Do not play cable news.
Play literally anything else. Play Chopped Junior. Play Malcolm in the Middle reruns. Play stock footage from a Ramen noodle factory. There's usually a tennis match happening somewhere. Play that.
If I want the news, I will check my phone. I will scan Twitter and I will be unhappy. Let that be my decision. What ever happened to personal liberty?
I'll tell you what: Since 1991, 50 airports have signed contracts to exclusively screen the CNN Airport Network, a time-delayed version of CNN that edits out any scenes that might prove upsetting to passengers — like, say, a news report on a plane crash.
But many channels — most channels, really, including some great ones like Bravo, VH1, The CW, FX, The Family Channel — will never show footage of an airplane crash. Why can't we watch one of those?
As an air traveler, I'm already in a low place. I probably just bought a banana and a Fiji water for $13. My phone is plugged in but somehow the battery level is decreasing. I took my belt off for the metal detector and my pants fell down. My life is miserable. I do not need to be reminded of our current politics.
Give me something that I can stare at that will turn off my brain. An Animal Planet program about the joys of the shiba inu puppy? Absolutely. An on-the-ground report from a lunch counter in Weldersville, Pennsylvania, where the patrons actually like that Donald Trump is fighting to take away their health care? No.
Turning off CNN at the airport would improve every traveler's mental state. If you are on the Right, you are aggrieved that the mainstream media is focused on trifling controversies. If you are on the Left, you can't believe this shit is happening.
Turning off CNN at the airport would improve every traveler's mental state.
Everyone hates it! Just turn on House Hunters. Ideologues across the political spectrum can agree that the moronic Tallahassee father of five doesn't need a man-cave if it means his home would only have one full bathroom!
Air travel is enough of an ordeal. Let's not make a bad thing worse by subjecting all passengers to our Horrible News Cycle at every single gate. Let's stop playing CNN at the airport and replace it with the Property Brothers or ASMR videos. You may get stuck in the tarmac, but at least you'll be stuck there with the sweet, relaxing memory of a random woman from YouTube whispering in your ear about Hawaii.