Sunday, September 25, 2005

Flavor of the Week: Airline Pilot

The JetBlue pilot who landed his aircraft despite malfunctioning landing gear-- not just safely, but perfectly, keeping the wheels right on the centerline-- is refusing to talk to reporters. He's not taking their phone calls, and he's asked friends and family not to speak to the press.

People are calling him a hero. Okay, if the shoe fits, whatever. But there seems to be some public expectation that any person at the center of an event like this-- which was broadcast live on television and captured the attention of millions of Americans-- should want to tell his story. Or, to be precise, that he should sell the rights to his story so somebody else can concoct a not-quite-true-but-shamelessly-pandering version to peddle as a news article, a book, a TV movie of the week, or what have you.

And I really have to ask those somebodies else: what the hell is wrong with you?

Leave the man alone. He did his job, he did it well, and if he desires no accolades, so be it. It is not your job to force him into the spotlight. "The people" are not entitled to receive everything they want or unreasonably demand.

Every reporter who called this man, visited his house, or accosted his acquaintances after he made his wish for privacy known should be ashamed of himself or herself. Anyone who attempts to sensationalize this impressive but ultimately minor achievement in aviation needs to get a new hobby.

And remember, kids: "Based on a true story" is always a lie.

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