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The Collective
Thursday, September 22, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I just happened to turn on MSNBC last night to see the end of this drama. In the age of TiVo I rarely surf the channels any more, and had flipped the TV to see if there was any new news on Rita, and the Weather Channel was talking about something else, so I flipped the channel.

I must confess, on one level, watching the event unfold seemed a bit morbid, as there was a real chance that the front landing gear would collapse and the nose of the plane would be driven into the runway. That would have been horrible and while the situation was certainly legitimate news, on the other hand one always has this terrible feeling that the news people are secretly hoping that the worst will happen so that they can capture it on TV.

It was quite appropriate that the event took place in LA, as LA news loves to show this kind of stuff, for hours on end if possible. LA is the land of the most dramatic presentation of the evening news of anywhere I have ever lived or visited. This event reminded me of time one Christmas where we were back visiting family and a bank had been robbed, and the robbers were holding hostages and reportedly had explosives. At least one station kept live cameras on the bank the whole time, while another station, where we were watching a movie, kept breaking in to show us all that yep, the bank hadn’t exploded yet. One got the distinct impression that they were just waiting for the bank to explode.

At any rate, I can’t imagine watching the TV commentary, which, of course, would deal with worst case scenarios, of the event while I was in the plane, yet that is what the JetBlue passengers were able to do: JetBlue Passengers Watched News of Drama

While satellite TV sets aboard JetBlue Flight 292 were tuned to news broadcasts, some passengers cried. Others tried to telephone relatives and one woman sent a text message to her mother in Florida attempting to comfort her in the event she died.

“It was very weird. It would’ve been so much calmer without” the televisions, Pia Varma of Los Angeles said after the plane skidded to a safe landing Wednesday evening in a stream of sparks and burning tires. No one was hurt.

Varma, 23, and other passengers said the plane’s monitors carried live DirectTV broadcasts on the plane’s problems until just a few minutes before landing at Los Angeles International Airport.

The landing gear trouble-the front wheels were stuck in a sideways position-was discovered almost immediately after the plane departed Bob Hope Airport in Burbank at 3:17 p.m., en route to New York City.

On the one hand, more information would be good in that kind of situation, I suppose (certainly I am one who always want more information). On the other, the hand the hyperbolic coverage of your typical able news anchor would hardly be comforting in such a situation.

I will say, the pilots landed that plane in impressive fashion.

Update: More here with photos, commentary from during the event and links to other related items.

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Filed under: Not politics, The Press, Cable News | |

1 Comment

  1. I can happily report that in the restaurant that had the TV on in the bar section, everyone applauded when it landed. I think we were watching and hoping for the best. I know I would have looked away had anything terrible happened. it was a tremendous relief that the landing went so well.

    Comment by The Misanthrope — Thursday, September 22, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

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