Religion

Is this seriously the best news you have to offer, CNN?

End of the world RV. Image taken from CNN.com.

I regularly read CNN.com for news. I recognize that CNN is not the best source of news and has been declining in recent years. A few years back, I almost stopped reading CNN when they removed their science news section. Yet, I still check CNN.com once or twice a day in addition to other news sources such as The New York Times and- of course- the Skepchick quickies. I mostly visit CNN.com because of years of habit. And, you know, so I can read the entertainment section and follow all the news about my favorite celebs such as Brangelina and their adorable children.

Sitting down to eat my lunch today during a break from labwork, I was dismayed to find that this new story about a crazy religious group cult that believes the end of the world is coming on May 21st, 2011 is the featured news story. The cult members are driving around in RVs warning people about the judgement day. Is this because they want to save people? Nope, not really. They believe that God has already chosen the 2-3% of people who will be saved when judgment comes. They just want to drive around in RVs and inform people that the end of the world is coming. You know, so you can do fun things with your last few days like drink margaritas on the beach drive around in RVs.

As for the cult, I see no need to attack their beliefs further here. May 21st is just around the corner, and when the world doesn’t end in a firestorm of judgment the cult’s beliefs will be discredited. Until, of course, the cult leader re-interprets his Bible and comes up with a new and improved end-of-the-world day.

CNN, is this seriously the best news you have to offer? Is this really worth displaying as a feature on your front page? I mean, revolution and chaos in the Middle East, Wisconsin politics, and even the royal wedding dress mystery and this is what you choose to highlight on your front page CNN? Shame on you. And your article isn’t even skeptical at all.

Evelyn

Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

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22 Comments

  1. @scribe999:

    I can think of a few people I’d like to put on their mailing list.

    Evelyn, I’ve also been pretty disgusted with CNN. I watch Maddow on msnbc, but can’t find an actual newscast that covers anything that matters to me.

    It’s pretty sad when the best coverage of real news is on comedy shows (i.e. Real Time, The Daily Show, Colbert Report).

    If I run into any of the May 21st folks, I’m gonna ask them what they’re going to do with those RVs and the deeds to their homes on May 22nd.

  2. Well, Someone has always been claiming the end is nigh. So this doesn’t surprise me, but it might be kind of interesting to see what happens when the supposed day of judgment comes and nothing special happens, and the world continues as usual.

  3. By pure coincidence, my local skeptics’ group (PhACT) had already booked its annual banquet for May 21. Then we heard the Rapture was due that day. It seemed like an omen when our scheduled speaker canceled and we were able to find a substitute who will speak on apocalyptic cults.
    There was some talk of serving dessert first just in case but I reckoned we needn’t worry. Presumably, the Rapture cannot come later than sundown in Jerusalem and hence will happen before late morning EST.
    If it occurs later in the day, at least I shall be in good skeptical company.

  4. Even a few years ago when CNN was better, I couldn’t take them seriously. Any network that had Larry King and that idiot that believed the US was going to merge with Mexico just couldn’t be.

    I fist heard about the coming end of the world last summer. The ‘return of Jesus’ in May was written in chalk on the sidewalk around Mission Bay.

    Then a couple months back I saw the group in Balboa Park, wearing signboards declaring the end is nigh. Really.

  5. 2 things:
    1. I cannot recommend The Guardian highly enough. There is a UK bias but it is far and away the best news source I have encountered. The only article The only coverage I have seen of this at the guardian was here.

    2. That CNN article was pretty terrible but at least they accurately reported the groups claim that the world will end on OCTOBER 21. The rapture is in May, the world ends in October. Almost every single news source I have seen about this has made that mistake, CNN is the first I’ve seen get it right, even if the rest of the article was garbage.

  6. I wander the web, reading news from the major western countries. I presume that most of them are biased in one way or another. Sometimes, one can discern the outlines of the truth by comparing sources, using critical thinking and a touch of cynicism. The US media is pretty much hopeless these days.

    When people tell me that the end is nigh, I just retort, “Maybe YOURS is.” ;-)

  7. Currently residing in a hotel in SE Asia, my TV news sources are limited. Online sources (including the Guardian and Hilary Clinton’s favourite, Al Jazeera) are reliable, but turning on the TV is occasionally entertaining (I use the term in its broadest sense).

    However, recently watching CNN I had to immediately turn the TV off so as not to damage hotel property. It was a report on the Christchurch earthquake in which, for a scientific update, they went to their METEOROLOGIST! And there he was, standing in front of his green screen that showed a weather-map-like display with various coloured dots of different sizes, and he launched into a forecast – of aftershock intensities… AAARGH!

  8. As I am currently residing in a hotel in SE Asia, my TV news sources are limited. I routinely rely on online sources (including the Guardian and Hilary Clinton’s favourite, Al Jazeera), but turning on the TV is occasionally entertaining (I use the term in its broadest sense).

    However, recently watching CNN I had to immediately turn the TV off so as not to damage hotel property. It was a report on the Christchurch earthquake in which, for a scientific update, they went to their METEOROLOGIST!

    And there he was, standing in front of his green screen that showed a weather-map-like display with various coloured dots of different sizes, and he launched into a forecast – of aftershock intensities… AAARGH!

  9. On my morning commute I sometimes see a Pontiac with one of those May 21, 2011 bumper stickers. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other stickers to give me an indication if the driver actually believes in that crap, or if he/she just put it on there for the “lolz”. I guess I’ll find out in a few months?

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