January 13, 2021.   And Good Riddance.

I knew there was a nugget of goodness buried somewhere in the destruction wrought by COVID-19.

Praise heaven, after thirty long and noisy years, CNN Airport News is going off the air. That’s right, effective March 31st, those infernal gateside monitors are shutting down. In a year with almost no positive news whatsoever, this one gets a gold star.

Few things are more offensive than those yammering hellboxes, hung from the ceiling in every nook and cranny of the concourse, blaring twenty-four hours a day. There is no volume control, no power cord, no escape. Not even employees know how to shut them up (I’ve asked). This isn’t a knock against the content of CNN or any other channel (I’ve been a guest on the network many times). It’s simply a plea to be left alone. Maybe if the damn things weren’t so pervasive I’d feel differently. But they are. You can’t get away from them. They took a somewhat useful idea and vastly overdid it, aggravating untold millions of people in the process.

At one point, some well-intended folks came up with a device called TV-B-Gone, a kind of universal remote that hooked onto your keychain and would silence the “chattering cyclops”* with the push of a button. They mailed me one, and lo and behold it worked… until CNN caught on and installed a blocking device. All hope seemed lost.

And the intent was what? Three decades of noise pollution masquerading as “news” has not kept passengers entertained or better informed. What it’s done is make an already stressful and nerve-wracking experience that much worse. So, good riddance. If it were up to me, the day those TVs fall silent would be declared a national travel holiday. Let us gather ’round the podium and savor the quiet. For once: quiet.

Maybe. I hate saying it, but this feels a touch too good to be true. Those monitors and their wiring comprise an awful lot hardware, and, much as I’d love to watch it happen, I just can’t envision it all being torn out and thrown away. Will another network swoop in and take over? Fox? MSNBC? CNBC? The Trump Travel Channel? I sincerely hope not. I know those things help pay the bills, but there has to be a better, more civilized way. Fingers crossed.

* Credit to Sideshow Bob in an old episode of The Simpsons.

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