Near the end of CNN's special primetime report on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on Wednesday, anchor Don Lemon read a pair of tweets he received from viewers suggesting the plane's disappearance could be the result of a "black hole," Bermuda Triangle or an occurence akin to the television series "Lost."
Lemon then turned to Mary Schiavo, former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and said, "I know it's preposterous, but is it preposterous, do you think, Mary?"
"It is," Schiavo replied. "A small black hole would suck in our entire universe. So we know it's not that. The Bermuda Triangle is often weather, and 'Lost' is a TV show."
"Right," Lemon said.
It's not the first time Lemon has invoked the supernatural to explain why the plane is missing.
On Sunday, Lemon said this: "Especially today, on a day when we deal with the supernatural, we go to church, the supernatural power of God. You deal with all of that. People are saying to me, why aren't you talking about the possibility — and I'm just putting it out there — that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?"
In terms of speculating about the plane's disappearance, Lemon is certainly not alone. Everyone from Courtney Love to News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch seems eager to offer a theory about Malaysia Flight 370.
World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance. Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in Northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) March 15, 2014
"World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance," Murdoch tweeted last week. "Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in Northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden."
That's a theory on the mind of more than one person, it appears. A poll of CNN "OutFront" viewers on Tuesday found nearly half (46 percent) believe the plane was "stolen for a later terrorist attack."
The Internet, of course, is awash in theories — most wild, some plausible — about the plane. A quick Web search turns up plenty from respected media outlets:
• Assessing the theories about Flight 370's disappearance - Washington Post
• 7 Leading Theories on Disappearance of Flight 370 - ABC News
• 10 theories about missing Flight MH370 - New York Post
• What happened to Flight 370? The leading theories - USA Today
• 5 Not-So-Crazy Malaysia Flight 370 Theories - New York Magazine
• One Fanciful Hypothesis, and Another That Begins to Make Sense - The Atlantic
• A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet - Wired
• Every Popular Theory You’ve Heard About Flight 370 And Why They’re Probably Wrong - Buzzfeed
"We all kind of roll our eyes at conspiracy theories, but what conspiracy theories do is they ask the hardest, most outrageous questions sometimes," author Brad Meltzer told Lemon on Sunday. "Every once in a while, they're right. And that's what we have to remember here. I think why it's captured our attention is because there's no logical explanation right now."
There is a logical explanation for CNN's attention: ratings. Wall-to-wall coverage of the missing plane has given CNN a series of wins over Fox News in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic coveted by advertisers.