This isn’t reporting. This is just regurgitation

Published November 11, 2012

So here’s this story about the CEO of budget airline RyanAir, Michael O’Leary, saying that he wants to fly people standing up for short hops, because seatbelts on an airplane are useless.

“If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you,” the Telegraph quotes him as saying.

Forget for a moment the stupidity of the comment. Seatbelts on airplanes are far from useless, and most people survive airplane crashes. I know that because 1) I like to watch Discovery Channel shows, and 2) because I looked it up.

So here’s the point: In the entire article, the reporter (one Hannah Furness), quoted the idiot CEO about safety, but never bothered to check to see whether he was right or wrong. Or tell us.

That’s not reporting. That’s just printing a press release.

I’m old fashioned. I think it’s a journalist’s job not just to report opinions, but to tell us which of them is correct. A couple of sentences to the effect of “in fact statistics show that most air crashes are survivable, and accident investigators have determined that seat belts have saved thousands of lives in those” would change the whole tune.

But no. That would involve telling us the truth, and it’s easier just to quote people’s opinions.

  1. Joseph Kennedy says:

    You’re a good man, Andrew, who has made a good point.

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