By Richard Prince, Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education
OAKLAND, CA - "We've all seen the headlines about angry travelers and videos of people experiencing the new 'enhanced' pat-downs or holding their hands over their head while they stand in a full-body scanner,"Bill Krueger wrote Wednesday for the Poynter Institute.
"We've heard the stories of the man who threatened to have a Transportation Security Administration agent arrested if he touched his 'junk' and the unfortunate bladder cancer survivor who was covered in his own urine after TSA agents broke the seal on his urostomy bag during a pat-down.
"But try sorting through all the clutter to find journalism that provides clarity and context, stories that hold officials in Washington accountable for their actions, coverage that does more than quote angry travelers or simply link to such coverage by other outlets. It's not easy.
" 'The media has focused on the salacious, like the poor gentleman who ... had bladder issues,' saidBenét Wilson, who covers airport security for Aviation Week, a trade publication. 'That drives up website numbers. Unfortunately, people don't want to hear the other side about why these security measures are needed.' "
On Twitter, New York Times media writer David Carr noted, "black ppl have long been subjected to unwarranted search as a fact of life in America. Not a joke. A thought."
Glen Ford made the point in a Black Agenda Radio commentary:
"It is right to howl at the indignities inflicted on airline passengers – but hypocritical, if the howls come from folks who applaud or remain silent while police in big cities across the country subject hundreds of thousands of Black and Latino males to arbitrary stop and frisks."
Marisa Treviño wrote on her Latina Lista blog, "all this outcry and media attention seems horribly hypocritical in light of the fact that Arizona and other states want to invade the privacy of Latinos — and only Latinos."
As it turned out, the Associated Press reported, "The lines moved smoothly at airports around the country Wednesday afternoon despite an Internet campaign to get Thanksgiving travelers to gum up the works on one of the busiest days of the year by refusing full-body scans."