News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Loaves, Fishes, and Terror: The Sacraments of Paranoia

Friday, December 02, 2005

Loaves, Fishes, and Terror: The Sacraments of Paranoia

I just found this article on the Christian Broadcasting Networks (CBN) Terrorism Blog, written by Erick Stackelbeck:

December 2, 2005
Missile Fired at Jetliner Near LAX?

The following item speaks for itself, and underscores the very real threat of terrorists in the United States getting their hands on shoulder-fired missile launchers. From Philadelphia's KYW:

Pilot Reports 'Missile' Fired at Jetliner Near LAX (11/28/05)

FBI agents and Homeland Security officials spent the weekend investigating the report of a possible missile fired at an American Airlines plane taking off from Los Angeles International Airport.

Sources tell ABC News the pilot of American Airlines Flight 621, en route to Chicago, radioed air traffic controllers after takeoff from LAX. He told them a missile had been fired at the aircraft and missed.
Sounds scary, huh? In fact, according to several posters at ABCNews' website, the story even ran on several radio news programs.

The problem is, the "incident" most likely didn't happen at all. In fact, it was probably just a flare or bottle rocket, as even Stackelberg admits--AFTER he reports the incident in such an ambiguously suspicious way, that the reader prone to believing this guy and the "authority"--he's a terrorism expert, after all, right?--that writing for the CBN gives him.

He adds insult to injury, however, when he goes on to cast an even more supsicious shadow to the incident. He even goes so far as to say that one reason the story did not go any further was because it would hurt the airlines industry:
Obviously, this was no mere "laser pointer" prank as we've seen numerous times over the past year. As the FBI admits, however, we may never know the source of the "smoke trail" that passed by the cockpit. If a land-launched missile were to hit a commercial jetliner (as has long been rumored to have happened to TWA Flight 800 off Long Island in 1996), the American airline industry would fall even further into a financial abyss.
If this is what Pat Robertson and his news channel are calling fair and objective news reporting these days, disseminating this tripe to millions of ill-informed, gullible listeners and readers, this is outrageous. I can't think of a better term for my moral chagrin at the moment.

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