Sad News



I’ve been a fan of Southwest Airlines from the time I first starting traveling by airplane. I’ve found the crew friendly, the flights generally on schedule and the costs associated to a ticket affordable if you schedule online and book at least three weeks in advance.


I was a startled yesterday to see three almost simultaneously dated links side-by-side highlighting the emergency landing of a SWA plane in Philadelphia. The plane was in route to Dallas from New York La Guardia. Three news links, side-by-side, were filed with ten minutes of one another.


The most recent link was filed by CBS. The middle link was associated to Fox News and the link on my right was CNN. The Fox Link boldly identified “one dead”. I knew the General would have an interest, so I called her to come watch the broadcast link with me.


Actually, that’s not true. I went to locate the General and invite her to come see. For whatever reason, the General doesn’t come just because I call. Of course, she expects me to come running when she calls my name. The cows would come home before she’d take a step in my direction simply from hearing me shout out her name. Some would say she has me trained well. Just for the record, I don’t have the sense that she’s done. I continue to be a work in progress.


Three news links to choose from they were within ten-to-fifteen minutes of each other, so where do I start? Why not go with the most recent link? Certainly, it would have the most current information or so I thought. I selected the link to CBS. Few details were actually being shared. I found the broadcast speculative. The anchor was interviewing an off-camera air transportation expert related to what it would have been like for the passengers and crew on that flight? Would passengers be interviewed in the investigation to share their impressions and experiences? What would it have been like for the pilot? Do things like an engine exploding happen very often? Few facts about the actual flight or the experiences on those onboard was shared.


Reference was made that it had been nine years since there was a commercial airline death in the United States. The anchor made the statement closely akin to: “Everyone safely disembarked from the aircraft”. No reference was made to a passenger death. I looked at the General and said: “Obviously the earlier broadcast from Fox News got it wrong. There wasn’t a death.”


I went from CBS to the Fox Network where detailed information about the flight was being shared. I scrolled down to find the written text and reportedly official confirmation had been released confirming a passenger death. So whom do you believe?


I didn’t get all of the way through the CNN broadcast before I had a work call to take. Consequently, if CNN got it correct, I don’t know. Somehow I found myself thinking about how difficult the CBS broadcast was compared to the one by Fox.  So which network do you trust?


Based on that one experience, I was inclined to lean toward Fox.  Yet didn’t CBS have the reputation for flawlessly reporting the news?  Well at least they did at one time. I guess it gets back to the reputation of the news anchor. Back in the day, Walter Cronkite was considered second to none.   So how long has he been gone from CBS? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s been a very long time.


Wasn’t it the voice of Cronkite that broke the news of the Kennedy assassination? I remember watching the news and hanging on to every word. Chronkite had the reputation for being “the most trusted man in America”. He was also referred to as “old iron pants”, “Uncle Walter” and “King of anchorman”. His alma mater was the University of Texas.


The General and I haven’t really watched the news since American troops were deployed to Iraq in 2003. Somehow that seems a lot longer ago than 15 years. I remember my intent to watch the fall of Baghdad since Craig was also having a first hand view. However, his view wasn’t from the comfort of his living room. The General was pretty adamant that we weren’t going to watch the news. She expressed it with such an air of finality in her voice that I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Sometimes I just have an intuitive sense about stuff like that. Some would call it my innate self-protective nature.


Consequently, from that time to this, we haven’t regularly watched the news. I pick up tidbits from the Internet on a daily basis. I don’t much like what I see, so I guess it is just as well as I don’t catch the news. That’s not to say that I don’t think it is important to know what is happening in our world. I think it is critically important, but I don’t need to watch in on CBS, NBC, ABC,  or etc.


I have to confess that I’m a little confused about the concept of “fake news”. When did that start and how do you determine which networks are more skilled than others in telling you what they want you to hear rather than the actual facts?


Of course, under the broad concept of “national interests” and “classified information”, I’m not sure we ever get a candid or accurate description of the facts. Okay, so don’t get me started. I think I’ll take a break and check back in with you tomorrow. I’m beginning to color outside the lines and that’s not where I won’t to go.


“And that’s the way it is…”


All My Best!