Why You Won’t See Footage of Plane Crashes on Most Airport TVs

Apr 8, 2019

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Last Wednesday, travelers at New York’s LaGuardia Airport experienced a sudden interruption during a news report regarding the Ethiopia Airlines 737 MAX crash investigation. According to Business Insider, as soon as the CNN newscaster began to provide an update on the crash, the screen was changed to a viral cake frosting video made by Refinery29.

Despite the interruption, closed captions from the original report played over the cake frosting video for several minutes. Eyewitnesses report that the caption read: “The pilots on the 737 Max that crashed in…” before cutting out.

Following the video, which featured a “caramel swirl cake” from Magnolia Bakery being frosted, screens resumed regular news programming.

Caramel Swirl Cake

This caramel swirl cake from Magnolia Bakery is EVERYTHING 🌀😍

Posted by Refinery29 on Saturday, January 13, 2018

While the residual closed captions might have been an error, the interruption itself was not. TV screens at LaGuardia (LGA), like the majority of major airports in the US, are operated by CNN Airport Network. According to the company’s official 2018 media kit, the network has a strict policy against airing programs that show plane crashes.

“CNN Airport Network does not air footage of commercial aviation crashes and other stories that would be inappropriate for a family-friendly airport environment,” CNN states in its media kit.

This, of course, includes any coverage of the two similar Boeing 737 MAX crashes. A CNN spokesperson also told Business Insider that “any programming about the Boeing 737 airplane that references or includes footage about the crash of Ethiopia Airlines 737, or any other airline disaster, will not air on CNN Airport Network.”

TPG reached out to the network for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication.

The CNN Airport Network broadcasts 24 hours a day in 57 airports throughout the US.

Featured image by Cherayut Jankitrattanapokkin/EyeEm/Getty Images.

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