walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Proposed modification to my Ignore the News Rule, carry on bags, etc.

A few years ago, I noticed that I was spending way too much time ranting at my favorite news programs. And I noticed that the ranting occurred at particular points in the year. Specifically, some time around the end of June/beginning of July, but definitely by July 4th, things really went straight into the shitter. The quality of reporting deteriorated in almost every respect. Lack of perspective. Poor sourcing. Biased language. Spinning like crazy. Etc. Things continued to explore the sewer system until some time shortly after Labor Day weekend, when the regular news resumed _as if nothing had happened over the last few months_. This is really striking during the summer of an election year.

So I adopted a policy: quit watching the news until Labor Day. I mean, sure, if something pops up in the headlines everywhere I'm gonna notice, but I go find something else to do with myself in the meantime. Walk. Swim. Ride my bike. Play with my kids. Go on amusement park rides. Binge watch a TV series I haven't tried before. Declutter the house. Work on genealogy. Etc.

I think I need to add a new rule: quit watching the news from T-weekend 'til January 3rd or thereabouts. Because it has been a little ridiculous recently. Here is Exhibit A:


"One remedy under consideration is to ban all carry-on baggage, though there is some question as to whether airlines would push back against such a draconian provision.

Another possible remedy: banning electronic devices from the passenger cabin. Officials are discussing whether to require that electronics such as cellphones, iPads and computers be placed in the cargo hold with checked baggage, which goes through a much more rigorous screening process. Detecting a bomb, if there is one, would be more likely."

I am no Glenn Greenwald fan. And generally, when you have a journo battle in which there is a man on one side and a woman on the other, I am going to tend to favor the woman. But just because Greenwald doesn't like Temple-Raston is no reason for me to sign onto this level of insanity.

"there is some question as to whether airlines would push back"

There is? Could have fooled me. Banning carryons on all domestic flights (because she didn't qualify this reporting AT ALL) wouldn't generate push back from just the airlines. Here I am thinking, the Republicans are being goaded by DeMint's crew at Heritage and elsewhere to shut down the government and/or limit funding to Homeland, which logically would result in TSA cutting screeners at the airport to generate longer lines thus causing everyone to call their congress critters to say WHAT THE FUCK YOU GUYS GET MORE SCREENERS PASS A BUDGET I DO NOT CARE WHAT THE DEAL IS I HAVE BEEN IN LINE FOR TWO HOURS. And an agency whose budget is being threatened is very likely to do that logical thing. I've been worried about this, because I am contemplating my not too far distant future which includes some air travel and I am not excited about long lines at the screeners, in fact, we've both signed up for Pre Check to mitigate that anxiety.

Meanwhile, Temple-Raston would like me to instead be forced to consider whether I would have to cancel my entire trip (which, I might add, has been paid for in its entirety, and involves zero trip insurance), since I don't really want to contemplate a cross-country flight with no electronics for the kiddies, and no carry ons for all of us (are they even going to let me have a purse? Maybe I should order one of those travel vests). Which, if you think about it, would probably cross someone else's mind, because I'm very much a member of the herd. The real reason for not pulling a Heathrow is, well, how that turned out for Heathrow, and also, real world implications for the economy as a whole.

R. initially pointed me at the Boston Globe coverage, and when I went looking for an update, I found this.


"Department of Homeland Security officials told 7News they will continue to work with the intelligence officials to keep passengers safe, but that they don't have any plans for a bag ban.

"As always, TSA will make necessary adjustments to its security protocols to meet an ever-evolving threat picture. However, at this time, we don't anticipate any further changes to carry-on bag policies and/or procedures,” DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee said."

Further down, Marty Walsh demonstrates the approach that had to have been a factor in winning his office in the face of substantial and varied competition: Just Be Sensible.

"Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he hasn't spoken to federal officials, but has a hard time believing that a ban of carry-ons would even by possible.

“That would be very difficult for the FAA to not allow people carry-on packages. You have people with young children that go on planes and you need supplies for the babies, you have older people that need medicine,” Walsh said."

Several things happened here. Greenwald complains that Temple-Raston is just a mouthpiece for the security state. If the security state's Adults In Charge are busy doing family stuff, and have left junior people about the office to talk to journos, then probably what happened is someone misrepresented some scenario/contingency planning as an actual possibility this holiday season (combining the Euro concerns about all those people following in Hemingway's footsteps, substituting ISIS for the Spanish revolution and some contingency planning). Or maybe the journo in question just did that on her own. Whoever at an editorial level might have said, "Wha---?!?" was distracted by putting together a holiday list of some sort and waved the article on through without looking at it, on the theory that Temple-Raston is an Adult who can be trusted. I'm betting this theory (the Temple-Raston can be trusted theory) gets revisited by the end of the week, no later than the end of January, especially if the rumor picks up additional legs.

Finally, it took a couple days for TSA and others to notice that there was this insane rumor running around, partly because I suspect that most consumers of NPR, like my husband, sort of went, Yeah, That Can't Be True. TSA then issued the obligatory, No, It's Not True.

On the one hand, I can't wait to see what happens next. On the other hand, I've already decided to not participate in the news cycle until well into the New Year. The next time I hear about a story like this, tho, I'm definitely going to go get a beer first, because this is just no fun doing completely sober.

ETA: CBS picked up the story about a half hour ago -- the TSA considering banning carryons -- but if you follow the google news headline link, you get an Ooops not found. I think Temple-Raston has really started a juicy one and it's going to be a real struggle suppressing it. NPR has really cocked it up this time.

These are still up:


I meant to say: anonymous sourcing is never desirable altho sometimes unavoidable. But for the original NPR piece to use exclusively anonymous sourcing, while never bothering to ask TSA, hey, are you planning on doing this? to see what they had to say, is such terrible journalism that I do not actually understand how that piece was published. It is a mystery.

Further, here is the original Express coverage:


And this coverage is clear that while banning electronics from the cabin or hand luggage entirely was considered, they were ultimately decided against. Which timeline was entirely missing in the NPR piece. How. How. How. did this thing make it on air and onto the website at NPR. What is wrong with you people? You have _so much credibility_ that everyone else is picking it up and sourcing it TO YOU when it is transparently bull shit.
Tags: politics

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