737doctor
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Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 6:32 am

Before I begin this post, let me say that I am biased. I work in the airline industry and have loved aviation since I was a child. So that does "color" my opinion quite a bit.

Having said that, I must say that I am tired of people in the media and entertainment industry saying how afraid they are to fly. "But wait," you say. "It's a free country and people are entitled to say whatever they want." I agree. Hey, I love freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc. Heck, I love all the freedoms we have in this country and I am forever indebted to those brave souls who have given their lives to protect those freedoms. But, I think that a certain amount of discretion is necessary when you voice your opinion. Freedom of speech does not protect you from yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. Granted, there is a difference in between causing a stampede in a darkened auditorium and telling a national TV audience that you won't get on an airplane, but the effects are similar in a way. In both instances, you are spreading fear and panic.

What exactly am I talking about? I was watching a re-broadcast of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and he had Arsenio Hall as his guest. Arsenio was cracking jokes about airline security and Jay was playing off of that, throwing jokes in where he could. I realize that they were making light of our new, more somber reality since 9/11, and that, in itself, is not such a bad thing. But when I say "flying is still safe" who hears it? Just the people within the sound of my voice. When Jay Leno says "I won't get on an airplane", millions of people hear it. Who know more about aviation, me or Jay? Me, of course; it's my job. But, he's a celebrity and people are going to listen to his comments and take them to heart, as innocent as he might believe them to be.

Now a few of you are probably saying, "Flying isn't safe! Look what happened!" OK, I am painfully aware of that and no, I am not sticking my head in the sand. To those people, I admit that the system is not perfect, but the government and the airlines have taken steps to improve airline security and I defy you to find a safer mode of transportation than commercial air travel. And who would have ever believed that terrorists would have used passenger aircraft as guided missiles? Now that it HAS happened, I would argue that flying is safer now than before those tragedies earlier in the year.

My example with Jay is just one instance of this "irresponsibility". I've heard similar statements on "Dateline" and "60 Minutes" as well as local talk radio stations. I don't have a problem with personal opinions, but I do have a problem with people who are spouting their own personal fears and trying to put a factual spin on them.

Before I started this topic, I said that I am biased. Negative press affects me more directly than those of you who have chosen aviation as a hobby. A few of you might say, "So what? I hope that all the airlines go under and that we have to take trains everywhere." You too, are entitled to your opinion, as misguided and unrealistic as it may be. Just try telling that to all the furloughed airline employees who are scrambling to provide a decent Christmas for their families. And who knows, YOU might be next, because when people lose their jobs, they aren't buying the goods and services that YOU provide and maybe your company will have to let YOU go. That's why I think that those people standing on the platform of celebrity need to think before they speak.

OK, I'm done. Flame away.



Patrick Bateman is my hero.
 
EGGD
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RE: Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 6:42 am

What have we to flame you for?

You said it, Celebs are influencing the public in a bad way, and it isn't helping buisness one bit.

Regards

Dan
 
serge
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RE: Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 6:52 am

Nice post. I HIGHLY agree that there are so many people being irresponsible in the 'people listen to me' industry, if you know what I mean (talkshows, media, etc.).

I don't know if you read my Fairchild Metro post, but the purpose of that flight was to bring along 3 friends of mine who have NEVER been on any aircraft. One friend backed out, another looks that way (hasn'
t called me yet, was supposed to ages ago, I shouldn't force him though by calling him, I will later tonight though because I made reservations) but my other friend, is just as excited as I am if not more to fly on a new plane, in this case, his first plane.

I believe the 2 friends who do not want to fly have been scared away by the media, talkshows, etc.

Just my .02
...Serge
 
prosa
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RE: Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 6:57 am

I must say that I am tired of people in the media and entertainment industry saying how afraid they are to fly. "But wait," you say. "It's a free country and people are entitled to say whatever they want." I agree. But, I think that a certain amount of discretion is necessary when you voice your opinion. Freedom of speech does not protect you from yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. Granted, there is a difference in between causing a stampede in a darkened
auditorium and telling a national TV audience that you won't get on an airplane, but the effects are similar in a way. In both instances, you are spreading fear and panic.


I agree with your basic premise - people shouldn't be discouraged from flying - but I'm not so sure if these "fearful" celebrities really have much effect on public opinion. Except for the more unsophisticated, trailer-camp levels of society, who by and large aren't the sort who fly much under the best of circumstances, I believe that most people do not consider celebrities to be opinion leaders in areas unrelated to their activities. What is more persuasive for most people is friends-and-family word of mouth. If one (non-celebrity) expresses a fear of flying, that person's friends and relatives are more likely to pay attention than if Jay Leno says the same thing.
Going out on a limb a bit, I believe that air travel will rebound and eventually get back to pre-September 11 levels as memories of that day begin to fade. It won't happen overnight, but that doesn't mean it won't happen at all. Indeed, things are starting to look a bit brighter already. Remember also that air travel numbers probably wouldn't be terrific today even if September 11 hadn't happened, given the weaker condition of the national economy. But the economy's starting to improve (the canary-in-the-coal-mine bond market already sees a strong recovery), and that will only help air travel.
In short, let Jay Leno and Arsenio Hall and their cohorts say all they want about the dangers of flying. It won't make much if any difference.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 7:07 am

the one I reckon has the most influence on general america is Oprah....but I fully agree with you 737doctor.
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
737doctor
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RE: Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 7:13 am

Thank you PROSA for your intelligent points, but it isn't limited only to entertainment/celebrity-types.

As I said in my original post, I've heard similar things from supposedly "more credible" sources, like Dateline and 60 Minutes...
Patrick Bateman is my hero.
 
prosa
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RE: Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 11:36 am

Thank you PROSA for your intelligent points, but it isn't limited only to entertainment/celebrity-types.
As I said in my original post, I've heard similar things from supposedly "more credible" sources, like Dateline and 60 Minutes...


You are quite right. News outlets (as opposed to entertainers, to the extent there's still a significant difference) indeed do have a responsibility not to sensationalize and pander to fears. Unfortunately, they've also found that sensationalization and fear-mongering attracts more viewers/listeners/readers than does a sober analysis of the true risks.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
yeeha
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RE: Fear Factor?

Sun Dec 09, 2001 4:25 pm

Well said...... 737doctor

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