Rant- After The Accident: Deceptive Headlines, Pushing Agendas

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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In the days and weeks after an aircraft incident, the media has to try harder and harder to get those precious clicks after much smaller events happen. Recently, the industry has seen three incidents of varying severity that have spawned some deceptive headlines, while at the same time, groups attempt to use the situation to push their agenda.

Asiana 214 was a major accident, the first death on a flight operated by the Boeing 777. After the initial media hurricane subsided and information came at a less furious pace, I started to see some agendas being pushed pushed hard, using the crash as their chance to gain relevancy. In my NYCA inbox was an email from a group called Wireless Radiation Rescue, who was claiming that in-flight wifi may have contributed to the crash somehow. The group claims that “there is evidence of cognitive impairment from this kind of microwave radiation exposure – magnified in the confined metal space of an aircraft.”

Well, there is a problem with their theory. No Asiana aircraft, including the crashed Boeing 777-200, has any type of in-flight wifi. The message goes on to say read “It is reported that the Asiana plane involved in last week’s crash at SFO was equipped with wi-fi.” Well, that is wrong, and any basic research would have shown that Asiana does not have any wifi enabled aircraft. So, Wireless Radiation Rescue, nice try, but your agenda can’t be pushed after this crash. Maybe try again, and replace Asiana 214 with Southwest 345? I’m betting they will.

After Asiana 214, we watched as an Ethiopian 787 caught fire while parked at London Heathrow. The damage to the aircraft was severe, but the cause was determined and the malfunctioning component is being removed or fixed. Several days ago, there was an incident on board an Air India 787. An oven in the rear galley of the 787 started to smoke, and the crew took measures to put the fire out and continued with the flight. Yes, burned food in an oven, that was it. Headlines, however, would make readers think another serious incident had occurred.

A headline at Airnation.net read “Air India Boeing Dreamliner starts ‘smoking’, DGCA begins probe.” While the brief article mentioned the overheating oven, notice how the headline makes it seem as if a 787 burst into flames. This is what you call “link bait.” Setting a trap with a misleading title, leading to an article that explains it was nothing serious. I despise this type of reporting. It damages the entire industry, and it is simply irresponsible.

I find it downright disgusting that groups will use a deadly accident to push their agenda, especially when they are blatantly wrong. And those headlines that distort reality in order to get you to click, just as bad. When you see headlines after an accident, try to take them with a grain of salt, as it may be completely twisted, just to get you to click.

End of rant.

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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  • plateman

    As a journalist — who does not cover aviation — this type of reporting pisses me off and I couldn’t agree more with your rant. It gives all of us hardworking reporters a bad name. Take the BuzzFeed overnight editor who called the WN hard landing at LGA a “crash” but couldn’t even spell crash correctly. And we wonder why the media are some of the most hated people.

  • SAM

    you should be one to talk. lately you have done a lot of over blown coverage.

    • Jason

      What coverage do you feel has been over blown, specifically?

  • Irman Syah

    visite intéressante, et beaucoup ajoutent à ma connaissance