Spanair Crash Prompts Usual Mass Media Feeding Frenzy

A major airline crash prompts the mass media into it’s usual feeding frenzy via their breathless coverage of today’s Spanair tragedy. As of the time of this entry, 153 passengers out of a reported 172 onboard a Spanair MD-82 died when the plane went down soon after takeoff at Madrid’s airport. Even though commercial airlines are still one of the safest ways to travel, the mass media made it their top story on all the major networks.  Their airline crash coverage has become very predictable. Video of ambulances and fire trucks rushing to the crash scene, scenes of grief-stricken relatives, and the obligatory comments by airline safety experts (who are paid quite well to be advisors to the networks for just such a situation) who are already speculating on the cause of the crash. I’d also bet some network will find a person who was suppose to be on the doomed flight, but for some reason missed it and now is telling their story how fate intervened to save their life. I’ve seen that scenario over and over again with airline crash coverage. Compared to highway deaths, which killed over 40,000 people in the U.S. alone last year, 153 fatalities would seem statistically insignificant. Sure, every airline death is a terrible tragedy for the friends and relatives involved, but it really needs to be put into perspective, however the media never seems to be able to do this.  Let the safety investigators do their job to find the cause, just report the facts, and leave the airline disaster hyperbole to Hollywood.

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