This website uses cookies. By using and further navigating this website, you accept this.
Dismiss
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from FlightAware.com. We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.
Dismiss
Back to Squawk list
  • 42

Op-Ed: Responsible Journalism and the Air Crash Du Jour

Submitted
 
As a 20-year veteran of the A320 cockpit for a major U.S. airline, including the last 15 in the Captain’s seat, I have cringed at the utter misrepresentation of aviation facts often disseminated by news outlets and their self-proclaimed “aviation experts” endlessly paraded across the TV screen during coverage of the latest air disaster. Coverage of the tragic crash of Germanwings 9525 has been no exception. (airwaysnews.com) More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]


fpk2
fernando kosop 10
Captain Auxier is 100% correct. The so called "aviation experts" are vomiting personal and "stupid" opinions all over the media!!! Richard (loud & boring) Quest, a "nobody" regarding "real aviation" knowledge, is acting like a "drunk parrot" talking non stop about all kinds of "stuff" that he "thinks" is related to the crash.
Those "experts" need to slow down, take a few pills, and wake up to the fact that there are "real" families and relatives to the passengers and crew thar deserve RESPECT.

Let the "real" experts on aviation take care of the investigation!!! And remember that sometimes..SILENCE.... is a gift.
preacher1
preacher1 5
For the most part, Eris is right, but, like it or not, these experts are people needing to make a living by telling what they can. I actually have to applaud CNN on this go around as they have been a little more accurate and reserved, and in some cases the experts have actually shut down the talking heads moderating that segment that have tried to interject their know nothing in the mix.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 7
When we had a news cycle of only a couple hours a day there wasn't time for lots of speculation. With news now a 24/7 business of course they are going to fill time with anything they can. Simple solution to hearing all this is to not tune in. You can call it irresponsible reporting but somebody is watching or it wouldn't exist. News cycle is really no longer journalism in the purest sense. It's entertainment journalism.
joelwiley
joel wiley 4
It's about getting somebody to look in order to show their advertisers they're getting their money's worth.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Well Said
joelwiley
joel wiley 6
With respect to Mr. Auxier, I feel he misses an important point. The media to which he refers is called 'NEWS' as a label rather than a description. Their goals are not to inform in within the framework of 'news as a public trust', but self aggrandizement and attracting advertizing dollars.
btweston
btweston 5
I agree with pretty much everything in the article. However, the deterioration of journalistic integrity has been an ongoing process and is hardly unique to arcane subjects like aviation. Cable news channels and internet news sources are largely driven by a desire to get people to watch and click, and to that end they will say and show just about anything. "Terrorist fist jab" comes to mind, among others.

It's not about news anymore, and when we want to learn about things we need to be careful and discriminating in choosing our news sources. I recommend reading major newspapers, since their existence is and always has been predicated upon being a trustworthy source of information (a few hiccups notwithstanding, of course).
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I submit newspapers are not necessarily better if any. They are fighting for existence and trying to gain audience. Their limited space means they really got to grab fast and they do. The best are deteriorating. In their heyday they also had the story wrong most of the time. Every news event I was ever personally involved in was never reported correctly in any media.
preacher1
preacher1 2
We have made a 180. Back in the day it was the Daily Newspaper and Newsreel every Saturday afternoon at the matinee. Now, a cough in Jakarta this morning as the prime minister arises and clears his pipes, is pneumonia by the time the rest of us are having coffee.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 5
The news industry has to be run by fishermen. The story grows with each telling.
preacher1
preacher1 1
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Jennings is leading the tournament. He turned a bluegill into a blue marlin.
iflyfsx
iflyfsx 4
Looking for "responsible journalism" on TV is like looking for an honest politician in Washington DC.

There are many things we do not know about the crash, but there are a few things we do know:

1) It was NOT a suicide. Like the Lufthansa guy said, suicide is when you kill yourself. When you also kill 150 people, it's something else.

2) It was NOT because the First Officer was depressed. There are millions of people who are depressed, and they do not kill hundreds of other people. Not even one.

3) If you are trying to "understand" why the crash happened, you are a fool. We might understand HOW it happened, but there is no REASON this happened, as if it could justify the deaths of all those people. There is no WHY.
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
It is difficult to try to apply the reasonable and prudent person test in this incident.
btweston
btweston -1
1) Well, there are suicide bombers. I would certainly differentiate them from a depressed person who kills himself in the privacy of his own home, but that has been an accepted term for some time.

2) How do you know?

3) Pretty much everything you wrote is wrong.
joiseau
Jay Schumann 7
Thank you Captain Auxier, well stated. The US cable coverage boggles the mind for its idiocy, CNN in particular is a joke and Richard Quest is a moron period, i guess all that meth has rattled his already misfiring synapse.
danlittle
Dan Little 3
Thank you.
ADXbear
ADXbear 3
Awesome article Thanks Captain... see ya back over on Face Book..
DSchultz101
I think Richard Quest at CNN is terrible.......one of the worst "aviation experts"
pthomas745
Pa Thomas 4
If you want Journalism with a capital J, read a newspaper of record, of which there are many to choose from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper_of_record

If you want infotainment, watch the 24 hour, ratings driven, cable news "shows" whose only commitment is to keeping eyeballs glued to the screen.
Pileits
Pileits 5
Yellow Journalism used by CNN and FoxNews as described by Wikipedia

1. scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
2. lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings
3. use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts
4. emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips
5. dramatic sympathy with the "underdog" against the system.
btweston
btweston 5
Data mining as used by you:

Items 1-5.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

pthomas745
Pa Thomas 3
What?
joiseau
Jay Schumann 3
Ah just to keep one honest the comments by Pleits did not include NBC so to suggest he did in inaccurate and misleading. Kind of like the reporting one experiences on cable "news" outlets. Fox, CNN, MSNBC are indeed, as Edgeair air suggests, part of the problem, or as i believe bad jokes.

Nonetheless, 150 souls perished and respect for the victims, their families, and the family of professionals that fly us pretty much anywhere we want to go needs to outweigh the cheep blather of semiliterate clowns whose soul purpose is to entertain as a means to advertise. And yes i admit there are occasionally actual professionals who actually know what they are talking about offering real information on these entertainment networks, but any practical and intellectual commentary by such professionals is usually subsumed by the emotional blather of the moderators in their quest for ratings.
edgeair
edgeair 0
Fox news, CNN and NBC are all part of this problem, they are all using these yellow news tactics to make their broadcasts more interesting and drive up ratings. They each have thousands hanging on every word they say and wanting more information.
bdjam
Brian James 2
Thanks for posting the link to this article. Very informative. It's interesting that I was reading somewhere that planes like the A320 - where the pilot is not as engaged in actually flying the plane (leaving much of it to the computers) might be degrading the pilot's abilities. The suggestion was that those flying the planes fly through take off to 10,000 feet and from 10,000 feet through roll out. While that wouldn't have mattered in the case of the Germanwings flight, it's an interesting thought...
indy2001
indy2001 2
Generally I agree with Capt. Auxier, but this afternoon I saw at least 4 or 5 experts (former pilots or NTSB members) try to tamp down the usual rush to judgement. I must day that I was impressed, surprised really, by most of the afternoon news on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. In light of the allegations made earlier by the French prosecutor, it would have been easy to go off on the First Officer on the Germanwings flight. Even the reporters were better than usual, although that's not saying much. Thankfully, Mary Schiavo was nowhere in sight.

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
joel wiley 0
Don't mistake an endangered species with an oxymoron.
I can't remember the last time CNN, Fox News or <insert your target news co.> won a Pulitzer Prize.
frankeb
Frank Barchi 1
It boggles my mind that nearly 112 years since the Wright brothers first took to the skies, the average person still knows very little about aviation.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, it is kinda like President Reagan said one time, "so much of what they know is wrong"
pilot62
wow this pilots full of fluff, looks like a kid who never got noticed, geez people who may not know all the sysytems on an A320 - may also be capable of explaining aircraft and studying like you. This stroy has little to no real information -
exhale and go back to the stck ....
preacher1
preacher1 2
Well now Scott, you aren't putting yourself in too favorable of a light; according to your profile, I hate to pull rank, but you carry a private rating and are up against an ATP veteran. I would say withhold your comments some and use the opportunity to learn or ask questions rather than be critical on the front end. That wins you no friends.
pilot62
I agree with you - my point is not about experience yours or mine - Just the writing
some of these experts on the news are pilots - Like Les Abbend , I may not have any jet experienece or line of any kind but thats not my point - only the generral fluff of this article. I spend much more time in the back - unfortunatley :)
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, your writing does leave a little to be desired and even here in your reply. I can't tell if you are down on the author of the article or CNN and their coverage. Think a little bit about what you are putting down in print. You may know perfectly well what you mean but you have to put it down with enough clarity that other folks will too. Hang in there. LOL. Watch real close on CNN. I think there are times that Les would just like to Bitch slap Richard Quest at times as he spouts some of his drivel.
pilot62
i was in the air descending thru 100 i(internet cut off :) ) as a child of an English Professor its the only way left to rebel,
I am clearly the worse proof reader alive , " Just the writing ,.... some of these experts on the news ,,, )
Im on the gound now, Fly low - stay high
preacher1
preacher1 1
If you were descending thru 100, that's as bad as texting while driving. LOL
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
That almost gives me a reason to watch it. Almost.
preacher1
preacher1 1
For some reason I posted LOL twice and neither shed up.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Are you familiar with Mr. Auxier's work? He has published a number of articles on a range of subjects.
k8lar
Blair West 1
The Captains certainly describe the situation. In my former profession we referred to experts as: "eX an unknown quantity, a spurt as a drip under pressure". I weary of the endless flash views of air scenes, many un-related to the issue while a background voice goes on with little information, much less facts. Preach on sir!
50 year private pilot
waterfall925
I must be listening to a different CNN than the good Captain. First of all, their 'aviation panel" is overloaded with retired captains and ex-NTSB appointees, and if I hear even 1 more time from them about how safe airline travel is and lets-not-speculate, then i'm gonna have to hit the silk

Yes, airline travel IS safe...so much so that there is no "crash du jour'--at least in the good 'ol USA. So many people nowadays depend on flying, and airline crashes are so rare, that when one DOES occur, people want to know WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED, because they're catching one of those big birds sometime soon themselves. So CNN is just doing its job by filling a need to discuss in a community way what may have occurred. i heard constsnt disclaimers from CNN anchors about their own aviation knowledge, and, if anything, an over-deferral to folks who polished the left seat in another era--making me wonder how relevant to today's aviation environment their opinions are.

So, instead of blaming the media for doing its job, the aviation community should now take a very deep breath and look into its OWN mirror of self-satisfaction and complacency, and ask itself some searching questions. It might start by calling this latest incident what it is---"Mass Murder by Airplane.' In an age where the man or woman flying the machine is the weakest link, a thoughtful plan of action is what distinguishes a pilot from a company cheerleader...that's what pilots do---think for themselves...forget the media and do your damnedest to insure that it never, ever happens again to you or anyone else.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Regardless of how we feel or who reports it, there is always, after any accident, a lot of hindsight and shoulda, coluda, woulda.
30west
30west 3
Sadly, speculation with no factual technical data relating to the accident being discussed rears its ugly head here as well. It is difficult for most of us, me included, to resist speculation because of our love, involvement and knowledge of aviation.

In most aircraft accidents, its takes a long, sophisticated investigation by a cadre of specifically trained professional investigators to reach a sound conclusion of the cause.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 3
If they keep their trap shut about things they don't know anything about then anchors won't NEED any disclaimers. It's the fact that they have to prattle on and on to dill airtime that gets them into trouble. Instead of just stating known facts they get into speculation, innuendo and what I call "stuff we totally made up ourselves but which sounds good". Let them stick with an announcement of any new, factual, information, a recap of what's known for a fact, and move on to the next story. Save the wagging tongues and talking heads for the celebrity gossip.
waterfall925
i thought I was the only 1 with fat fdinges, uh...fingers...nah, let them speculate...it's actually a good thing and raises public awareness...a lot of the comments on this forum have been factually inaccurate, but it's not my job to play gotcha...i'm just sayin' it's more productive at this point to not dwell on the mass media, and instead think of what might be done to prevent another mass murder by airplane
preacher1
preacher1 2
There are a lot of things out there. Pint is you cannot prepare for everything and the bottom line to all of it is who is going to pay for it. Other than something superficial like a 2nd person in the cockpit at all times, I really don't think we'll see much change because of $. There was a lot of talk and bluster after the Malaysian flight disappearing but here a year later, no difference.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? How do you guard against an inside job?
btweston
btweston 1
Magnus frater, ut patet.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Nope, it's his lowest-bidder defence contractor doing it.
waterfall925
well, you seem to have a defeatist attitude about what can be done...but clearly, something needs to be done to address the question of mass murder by airplane, and I am sure that this problem, like all others in aviation, will be addressed one way or another...if there's too many humans out there with loose screws, shall we say, the bean counters will eventually remove them from the cockpit in favor of drone airliners...can't happen?????...just hide and watch
preacher1
preacher1 8
No William, not a defeatist attitude but a realist attitude. I will be the first to admit that things need doing and could probably suggest some. Technology is there in some form to do whatever needs doing, but there are 2 chief questions here. The first, however commonsensical and seemingly easy something might be, who is going to pay for it? A private company is not going to do it unless either the losses mount that they have to or if the government mandates it, where everyone has to do it and is on an equal footing cost wise. And the 2nd kinda goes with the 1st one: If the losses are not there, unless mandated by an authoritative body, there is no incentive. Sort of crass, but in this case, they lost a 25 year old plane and will make a payout of some type for 150 people. Drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things.
waterfall925
Well, "realistically," the solution, which seems to be ever-increasing reliance on robotics, will probably come from private initiative...i simply don't understand why so many in the aviation community are so invested in being quasi-government spokespersons. and the promotion of "official" -explanations-only from the press. I always thought aviation was the home of free thinkers who think there might be a better way. I guess not....everyone is too busy trying to impress the FAA and promote the status quo
preacher1
preacher1 2
As I said, a realistic attitude. The technology is there in some form to do about anything. As with us here in this forum, there are a lot of ideas in the industry, BUT until something is mandated where costs are equal or the losses get too big that they have to do something, the question is going to be who will pay for it. As good as an idea may be, about anything in this business(or a lot of others for that matter) is what kind of ROI will it generate. It all comes down to dollars and cents.
joelwiley
joel wiley 4
One solution to 'mass murder by airplane' is to ban airplanes. You have to agree it would be effective- if planes were outlawed, only outlaws would have planes. The flight deck door lock mechanism was implemented because of 'mass murder by airplane' as you might recall. It has been said that you cannot fix stupid. Protecting against a knowledgeable individual intent on a destructive course of action may approach stupid in 'fix-ability'
yr2012
matt jensen 1
Not airplanes - ban pilots. We're well into the 2nd century of flight. The pilots are the only in flux item on board, that their mental well being cannot be guaranteed. Robotics is here to stay and I look forward to my replacement being one of them.
waterfall925
i agree with you for commercial passenger operations, Matt. From a business perspective, as well as a human standpoint,the stakes are too high now, and are increasing, to permit continued reliance on human vagaries in the cockpit. A true robotic airplane would fly itself without human assistance from the ground. It's coming, even if all of us old timers on this forum say it ain't so
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
You bet it's coming. Probably can easily get the dumbed down public to climb aboard. But I know somebody that won't strap in. Lol
joiseau
Jay Schumann 4
Well now you know more than one who wouldn't strap in Wallac24! i have to say to i find it totally hilarious that the "the stakes are too high now, and are increasing, to permit continued reliance on human vagaries in the cockpit." and yet those same human vagaries are perfectly fine to write and assemble the millions of lines of code required for the same job.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
I want computers and pilots. The crazy pilot syndrome hasn't been big enough yet to give me pause.
waterfall925
When viable robotics are available, the bean-counters will kick the pilots out....you think those union boys are gonna last then?????....wow, what a target!!!
waterfall925
I agree about GI/GO...but the robot passenger airliner is coming...it seems no human hand can match the draw of the autopilot
btweston
btweston -1
A strange place for a thinly veiled pro-NRA screed, don't you think?
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
Joel probably straps on two 44 magnums. Lol. I stick with my FN and 45. Nothing is 100% safe. Driving to church on Sunday has risk.
30west
30west 0
FN? My favorites are 9mm and 5.56mm
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
Fabrique Nationale Herstal 5.7. Great pistol. Got the AR's for backup though.
30west
30west 0
OK, thanks. I just checked it out online, sounds like a great pistol. Enjoy!
joelwiley
joel wiley 0
Am in California- if it shoots, it's illegal or soon will be 8-}
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
California is a great state and all I can say is what a shame.
preacher1
preacher1 0
I like my 20 gauge
waterfall925
More defeatism, which is why in the future we'll all be locked out of the cockpit...really suggest acceelerated research into robotics...not sure I would want any of the humans on this board to have an airplane anyway...if something came up in flight, they might just believe that nothing could be done to save themselves...finally, coming up with cute aphorisms in the face of a mass murder by airplane is not fitting, and I don't mind saying so
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
HAL: Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

Any computer system can be hacked if you commit sufficient resources. Protection is a race between factions. Pilot-replacement automation is not exempt. I reject the notion that the impossibility of creating a foolproof system is 'defeatist'
waterfall925
Hahahaha...someone just programmed me to say the following: "True PERFECTION may be an impossibility, but VIABILITY is possible, and not to even try because of the SUPPOSITION of impossibility is indeed defeatist"
btweston
btweston 3
Aren't machines prone to loose screws from time to time?
waterfall925
yes but machines are rarely members of the jihad...and they do not call in sick
btweston
btweston 0
Maybe you didn't actually read the comment on which you are commenting, but one of the points made was that they did, in fact, keep their traps shut about things they don't know anything about, while deferring to actual experts.

I think you need to chill out, frankly.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 0
fill, not dill

(darn fat fingers)
joiseau
Jay Schumann 1
The comment: "In an age where the man or woman flying the machine is the weakest link" shows a profound ignorance of aviation, past and present.
preacher1
preacher1 5
There is never a report on what a pilot does right and unless it is spectacular or out of the ordinary, you don't hear about any upsets that a pilot will recover from. These are not uncommon and what we get paid for. Granted, technology is getting better and planes are more reliable, but things still break and stuff still happens.
waterfall925
No--that comment shows an understanding of reality, past and present, whereas your unsupported assertion does not. For my evidence, I offer the probable cause of most aviation accidents
preacher1
preacher1 3
Well, I look at your profile and see you have only been on here a short while and have no rating. I have a combined total of 41 years from FE to captain and all of us veterans on hear generally speak from reality, not wishful thinking. You do seem to be more of age than a lot of theses posters, but so far your comments have been different from those here. That is not a bad thing as I will be the first to say that you are entitled to that opinion but I politely disagree with it. We all probably support some of the ideas that you proffer, but just know that they aren't going to happen, and even worse, if they were implemented as a knee jerk reaction, causing a worse situation.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
Preach on Preacherman!!!
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
He ain't even in the pulpit yet! These people think computers are the only answer. Of course they are of the opinion there are no crazies doing the programming or flying from their cubicle who would think of bringing down a bunch at a time. Be a cold day in hell when when I climb aboard without a THRUSTT or Preacher up front.
joelwiley
joel wiley 0
I do find it somewhat disconcerting when the flight crew seems to be of an age to be taking driver's ed or be carded to buy a beer.
RadBaron
RadBaron 0
I'm waiting for Les Abend to reach across the desk one of these days and smack some sense into Richard. You can just see it in his face sometimes.
preacher1
preacher1 1
LOL!!!!!!!!!
stave
Edgar Murphy 0
The only thing I am yet to see is a reference to a "small" Airbus. Reporters apparently have not learned that you can describe airplanes by the number of engines or number of seats; everything smaller than a 747 is "small" to them. An RJ100 crashed in Missouri a few years ago and, sure enough, it was reported to be a "small" commercial airliner.
btweston
btweston 3
You must remember who their main audience is. They don't know an RJ from a CRJ from an A343.
SmokedChops
SmokedChops 0
spot on, Cap'n Crunch, er, Aux..(oops) Kind of gives you pause when you realize how far out their depth these talking heads really are. Bear this in mind the next time a 'market analyst' or 'medical advisor' is yammering-on, on any of the news grinders. [insert sound of nervous chuckle] Again, well put, Capt. Auxier!

Login

Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!