Monday Insight – May 8, 2023

 A Glance At Aviation Media Coverage.
Or, Non-Coverage.

Just took a quick look at a lot of the media reporting on aviation issues.

Funny, but it’s really clear that the Fourth Estate has a set of rules that are focused on not questioning the powers that be, or questioning trendy bogus narratives about airlines.

Or so it seems. A couple of examples

America’s sorry state of airports. In the past year, the occupant of the White House denounced our airport system, declaring that none of them are in the “top 25.”

Try as one may, we can’t find a single aviation media source that enquired regarding what that stupid comment meant. “Top 25” in what qualitative category? Or, what other airports are in this magic 25. Worse, a number of gadfly veneer outlets repeated it as gospel. The big networks dutifully published it, too. Factless.

Seat Size. It’s all around the media. CondeNast published an article on it. It is accepted dogma at places like the Today Show and other mainline sources of what is still accorded the status of news sources.

According to some pandering consumer gadflies, US airlines have narrowed seats by two inches in the last few years. Soapboxing politicians such as Schumer of New York have held press conferences on the subject, obviously confident that none of the protoplasm in the audience would ask any questions. The big news outlets have confidently reported seats are now averaging 16 inches in width. CNN tells us they’ve shrunk from 18 inches in the past five years.

The truth is that the claim is as false as a rigged carny game. Completely and blatantly false data. Not true. But it fits the trendy narrative regarding airlines.

Not a single media source has checked this out, which is the leper’s bell of the potential quality of the rest of what we may be being fed on a daily basis.

GAO Study. A GAO study just came out, concluding that it is the airlines themselves that are the cause of cancellations and delayed flights and consumer outrages. Now, the airlines are responsible to their customers, but the GAO glossed over a number of issues, not the least of which was the collapsing ATC system that is constricting air transportation and inflicting inefficiencies on air travel.

Buttigieg & Accountability. The seat warmer at the top of the DOT (hey, guys in the trendy Peanut Gallery, it’s time to stop pandering – this guy is an embarrassment) is pure media Teflon. The FAA is moribund, the air traffic control system is collapsing, yet one could conclude from the media coverage that he’s just a bystander without a clue.

Small Community Air Service Crisis. The plight of air service in rural America and small communities is the latest cause celebre in travel stories. The implication is that losing scheduled flights at the local airport is an economic death knell.

Zero investigation beyond sanctimonious conclusions of doom. No attempt to investigate the causes at each. No analysis of the economics of air transportation. No attempt to discuss the changes in consumer communication channels. No differentiation between loss of service at a close metro-peripheral community and at a really rural town in the west.

No attempt at professional, informative journalism. It might spoil the intended narrative.

Yikes! The ATC System Is In Trouble. This past week, the former Chairman of United declared that America’s Air Traffic Control system is in deep descending operational yogurt and is the worst in the world.

The headlines on Fox, for one, made it appear to be the revelation of the year. But not one media outlet bothered to illuminate that this has been the situation for years. Plus, they didn’t bother to question why this same guy was so dutifully and quietly reserved about the DOT when he was at the helm of United. The ATC system was a mess, then, too.

Final Point: It is caveat reader when it comes to reliable reporting of aviation issues. The de facto official narratives into which these matters are relegated appear to be intended to control, not to inform.

We are on our own in determining the truth.


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