Dark Side of the Moon

So, some big news today: Our president won the Nobel Peace Prize. Also, relatedly, it is Bo Obama’s birthday. Also, something happened with health care, probably. Oh, and also: we bombed the moon.

Yep, folks: We have literally shot the moon.

But if that fact makes you conjure images of Exciting Explosions and Spectacular Spacestorms and Mushrooming Moondust and what have you…you will be bitterly, bitterly disappointed. If, that is, you are anything like Dylan Ratigan—who, on MSNBC this morning, wasted no words in expressing some umbrage-n-outrage that the lunar smackdown wasn’t nearly as big or as bad or as generally Bruckheimeresque as he’d expected. Here is Ratigan, introducing Morning Meeting’s moondancetastic coverage earlier today, emphasis mine:

The story that was supposed to be the major headline today until Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize: NASA literally bombed the moon. So where are the spectacular pictures we were all promised? [NBC aviation correspondet] Tom Costello could not believe his job let him cover moon bombing, and yet here he is scratching his head saying, That’s it? We’ll find out what happened on the moon with Mr. Costello after this.

And then, after a commercial break:

Well, we may have missed something here. We were told they were bombing the moon, but two hours ago a two-ton rocket traveling twice the speed of a bullet slammed into the moon in search of water. Unfortunately, the animation was more spectacular. Tom Costello with us on the beat with the disappointing pictures and very compelling science.

Yes. Despite the “very compelling science,” the pictures were “disappointing.” And that is, indeed, “unfortunate”—since, in an experiment like NASA’s, the production of cable-worthy images is, you know, the whole point. Hey, NASA: could you try to make your moon explosions a little more explosive next time around? Dylan Ratigan would appreciate it. Thanks.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.