Quest’s journeys through the press

By Sujay Kumar

Quirky CNN personality Richard Quest’s catchphrase is, “Wherever your travels take you, I hope it’s profitable.” Last Friday, Quest’s trip through New York landed him behind bars.

Allegedly on the way back to his hotel with some friends at 3:40 a.m., the hyper British reporter was busted for loitering in Central Park. During the arrest, Quest confessed to the officer that there was some meth in his pocket.

It turns out the amount of drugs was only enough for a charge of misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance. At his hearing, Quest accepted to undergo therapy for six months and will subsequently have the charges against him dropped.

Understandably, the fiasco will not be very profitable for Quest or CNN. Quest is one of the most popular members of the CNN team, and his arrest will not bode well for ratings. CNN has yet to say if Quest will be returning to the network.

When I first saw the news report of Quest’s arrest, I thought it was perfect grounds for ripping into the flamboyant and borderline tweaky host of the very popular “CNN Business Traveller” and “Quest.”

He was always known for his signature suit and tie, glasses and know-it-all grin. Quest’s entertaining delivery focused on enunciating and an unbridled enthusiasm toward everything as he yelled into the camera in a “my head is going to explode” sort of way.

But after considering the details of Quest’s arrest, I thought it would be out of taste to write something poking fun at what happened to him. “Man arrested with meth.” The headline doesn’t exactly conjure up the happiest of thoughts.

Then I ran into a New York Post report titled “Kinky News Network: CNN’s Quest a Very ‘Knotty’ Boy.” The tabloid newspaper story quoted an unidentified law-enforcement source that exposed the dirt behind Quest’s arrest. The Post reported that police discovered that Quest had a rope around his neck tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot.

The article begins with, “This is CNN? Kinky.” This unbelievably clever line is followed by observations such as how Quest should have known that the park was closed “because all of the signs saying ‘Park Closed 1 a.m. to 6 p.m.'” The writers then observe that, “It wasn’t immediately clear what the rope was for.” Hilarity ensued.

The Post story was everything I wanted mine to be, minus being clever and including embarrassing details to the story that meant nothing to the arrest, since Quest was not exposing himself at the time and there was no lewdness charge.

I foolishly assumed that out of respect for a fellow journalist who may be suffering from a serious drug addiction, news agencies would refrain from berating Quest. Because the Post is considered the benchmark for tabloid journalism by many, I thought the attack on Quest would be viewed as a low blow.

Instead, the “kinky” Post report created a firestorm on the Internet. The seemingly dead story of Quest and meth was suddenly given a shot of adrenaline and a twist, like a mixture of Quest’s reporting style and an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Everyone showed their love for it, including some respectable major news agencies, by picking up the story and attributing the information to the Post article.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing as great as chastising cable news hotshots. Whether it’s human-guinea-pig-turned-hard-hitting-journalist Rick Sanchez or ace reporter and child predator-predator Chris Hansen, we’re always waiting for a reason to mock them. And yes, annoyance counts.

And while the Post report may be a low blow, it isn’t technically inaccurate. But it seems as though it may be the deciding factor in whether Quest will ever report again for CNN, or anywhere for that matter, and that doesn’t seem fair.

As Quest said in an interview with Anderson Cooper, “Are you ready for your ritual humiliation tonight?”

Sujay is a junior in biochemistry. He enjoys the show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as much as “Seinfeld.”