I was in southern Mexico when the tsunami struck, with virtually no Internet access. On the other hand, my hotel had cable. It was the first time in a long while that I was largely dependent on CNN for information about a major breaking story.

It's one thing to know intellectually the limitations of TV news. It's another to see those limits so starkly after being used to the depth of the Net. Few things are as frustrating as watching something go by on that news scroll, wanting to click through for more information, and suddenly remembering that you can't—that you're stuck listening to what the newscasters want to tell you, even if it's the exact same thing they told you 10 minutes before.

What was really astonishing was to remember that 14 years earlier, when the first Gulf War was underway, CNN was the amazing new innovation, not the dinosaur in the rear-view mirror.