Friday, January 16, 2009

Surreal hero worship

Has the press gone nuts?

In the wake of the Hudson River plane crash, in which no one was killed, the press is falling over itself to anoint the pilot of the plane, Chesley Sullenberger, for sainthood.

At one point, an interview with his wife, standing in the driveway of her home with her daughters by her side, was the featured video front & center as the main story on the MSNBC website. What was revealed in the interview? That he wife was shocked by the crash and is waiting her husband’s return home.

Sometime around midmorning, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg dubbed Sullenberger a “hero” (before even preliminary results of the crash investigation have been revealed) and the press jumped on board headfirst.

Getting stranger, Sullenberger’s grade school in Texas improperly released his school records to the public in the rush of interest today. In a staggering display of hypocrisy, Fox News reported on this story, reported some of the grades, displayed a picture of his transcript, and then chided, in a caption next to the image: “his school district gets an "F" for making his academic records public.”

I’m not denying that this pilot’s quick thinking may have saved lives. But this bizarre wholesale coronation of the ultimate hero, with no pause to find out anything of substance about what happened, is surreal to say the least. Is it any wonder most Americans don’t trust the press?

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