By LARRY WOODY
You probably saw the mad scramble among all the major network news agencies awhile back as they competed for late-breaking updates on the Big Story:
“Prince Andrew Flies Coach!”
That was an actual headline on an actual story written -- presumably -- by an actual reporter and posted on an actual national news website.
As the fast-breaking story developed throughout the day, I read various accounts, trying to learn if the Prince had an aisle or window seat. No luck. All we were told was that somehow his royal hiney got stuck in the coach section with the unwashed commoners.
Talk about shoddy reporting.
Likewise, none of the accounts made it clear if the Prince requested a pillow, or how he liked the complimentary salted peanuts.
Where’s Edward R. Murrow when we need him?
But the “Prince Flies Coach!” wasn’t the best of the worst. These are more actual headlines played prominently on the websites of assorted major news organizations during a single random day:
+ ABC: “Jennifer Anniston’s surprising hair-washing habits.”
I won’t tell you how, exactly, Jennifer washes her hair, and why it’s so surprising. It would spoil the drama. I assume ABC is working on a follow-up expose about rinsing.
+ NBC: “Beyonce posts photos of Solange after alleged brawl.”
I read the story and I’m still not sure who or what a Solange is, or who was allegedly brawling and why. But at least it gave NBC an opportunity to run a steamy photo of Beyonce.
+ CBS: “Personhood for Pets?”
The story explained “how the human-animal bond has evolved.”
Sometimes a story is so mind-boggling stupid that you can’t stop yourself from reading it, like pausing to stare at a two-headed goat riding a unicycle.
The gist of the CBS scoop was that more and more humans are getting in touch with their inner-hamster. They believe that cows should be allowed to vote, and sheep permitted to hold public office -- as long as they don’t fleece the public.
+ CNN: “Pope Francis: ‘I’d baptize Martians.’”
CNN has a fixation on space aliens. One of its commentators earlier suggested that little green men from Mars might be behind the Malaysian plane disappearance. He also expressed a theory that the plane vanished into a “black hole” -- kinda like CNN’s ratings.
+ Fox: “Miranda: ‘I’m normal sized!’”
Singer Miranda Lambert denied reports that she’s too fat. Or too skinny. It was unclear which. Fox posted photos that seemed to support Miranda’s contention that she -- like Goldylocks’ third bowl of porridge -- is not too big or too small, but just right.
+ Even the staid old Grey Lady, the New York Times, ran this headline with a straight face: “Treating dogs’ anxiety with drugs.’”
The Times didn’t editorialize in favor of pot for pooches, but simply reported the cold, hard facts: “More and more dogs need drugs