WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

Idiot reporters and the panic media strike again

It hasn't been two weeks since I griped about the unreliability of the mainstream media...
In my own areas of modest expertise--poker and aviation--I often gag at what passes for reportage in the mainstream press. They frequently get things flat wrong, and even when the facts are correct, it's clear that the reporter still doesn't "get it."
And now, in case you wanted to know what I was referring to, the panic-mongers at ABC, WaPo, et al, provide Exhibit A: the recent case of Michelle Obama's Near-Disastrous Brush With Death. This is from an aviation writer who actually knows what he's talking about:
Basically, in terminal airspace, where Michelle Obama's C-40/737 was, the required IFR lateral separation is 3 miles, which wasn't compromised. But in following a heavy jet like the C-17, 5 miles of in-trail spacing is required for wake turbulence and that's where the bust was. As the C-17 rolled out on the runway, this evolved into a runway separation issue for the tower controller so he sent the airplane around. Big deal. It happens.

...

This sent me out in search of world's worst reporter on the aviation beat. And believe me, there's no lack of candidates. I award first place to Lisa Stark, of ABC News, who consistently reports aviation stories, no matter how minor, in urgent, 72-point type. Her report on this incident, while not wildly inaccurate, lacks the balancing perspective a lay viewer could grasp if the story weren't so dumbed down. Her gatekeeping of facts proceeds from the notion that this was a dangerous situation when, in fact, is was just less than optimal. Too tight sequences get fixed every day.

Second place goes to The Washington Post's Ashley Halsey III who decided it would be a good idea to say in his lead that the First Lady's airplane "came dangerously close to a 200-ton military cargo jet." Allowing as how the copy desk—if the Post still has one of those—may have sexed up the lead, it's just wrong. Completely. It's tabloid-level interpretation.
P.S. Never mind that Mobama was cruising around in a jet you paid for to appear on "The View." Ruling class wins again.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aviation?!? Do tell please. I used to go flying a bit until av-gas prices went to the moon and priced me out of that hobby.

Zeke said...

I think when the ruling class has its way, private aviation will be for them exclusively.

In the meantime, I'm paying the higher Avgas prices.

Anonymous said...

Gave it up - between the increase in price for fuel, the FBO raising the rental price for a 172, increased fees for the club membership, etc., etc. couldn't justify it anymore. The FBO (Langa Air) went bust after 30 years in business and closed up the school. Went to motorcycling more often. Maybe one day I'll get myself a little used 152 or something super easy on fule and tie it down at a little non-tower field in the middle of no-where.

Anonymous said...

I-wee-tah-tid I-sofa-king-wee-tah-tid.... fuel, fuel, fuel, fuel, fuel, fuel....

Anonymous said...

The way it was reported you might think the smaller craft became inverted from the wake turbulence but I think that is a symptom of 24hour breathless news coverage...even when something boring happens, they feel they have to make it into something because a "name" is associated with the event (or non-event). Ooooooh, maybe the Captain farted while executing the go-around?!?!!

Old Zeke said...

Yeah, it's a pity. Costs have more than doubled since I started in '98.

I just found one statistic that the number of licensed pilots in the U.S. fell by 200,000 (~25%) between 1980 and 2008.

It should be a golden age, with composite airframes, glass instruments, etc. Nice planes and nobody left with a dollar to fly them.

Anonymous said...

I always wanted to fly as a boy but came from a family that was so broke it could not afford to pay attention. One of my friend's step father was a crop duster and could fly his ass off but only when someone was paying him. Around 2002, I finally had the time and money to go take classes and get a Private certificate. The best moment coming in 2004 when I was able to go fly around Hawaii and island hop in an old rented Cessna. Touch and go's on an old strip next to the Pacific. Costs just blew me away.

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