The arrogance of Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal

So what do we know about the Colgan Air Q400 crash at Buffalo? A reasonably experienced crew landing in the icy dark in a modern turboprop aircraft at a well-equipped airport with some questions about its glideslope reliability. The aircraft slows down for unknown reasons and ends in what looks like a stall-induced horrendous upset at fairly low level from which it fails to recover.

Andy Pasztor of the Wall Street Journal, who I slightly know and whosecompany I enjoyed, and his colleague Lynn Lunsford, who I don’t thinkI’ve met have done some rooting around like the rest of us and thinkthey have an insight into what the NTSB is thinking.

They may be right, although the NTSB formally says it hasn’testablished what they say it has. Certainly they leave a lot of roomfor uncertainty. And let’s face it, there’s plenty of that surroundingthis accident.

Even if the facts are correct, I know that union officials are lookingvery hard at the scheduling and fatigue factors around the accident.And we don’t know if there was ice, or how severe it was. The point isthat we just don’t know.

None of which worries Scott McCartney who has written this deeply unpleasant piece which would trample over the dead crew’s graves if they were yet in them.

Post-air accident journalism has actually come on a long way in the 20years that I’ve been involved in it. Writers working for much lessaugust publications than the WSJ now know at least enough not toindulge in this sort of prematurely certain criticism. McCartney’s work is like some weird archived tabloid from an earlier age.

Not only is the article brutal in its cavalier treatment of the Colgancrew, it’s dumb in its contrasting glorification of CaptainSullenberger of Hudson River fame. As every professional pilot in theworld knows, the jury is still out on Sully and his crew. Does it looklike they did a terrific job? Yes it most certainly does. Do we knowanything much of what happened in that cockpit, no we most certainlydon’t.

I wonder what Pasztor and Lunsford think of their colleague’s work?

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One Response to The arrogance of Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal

  1. Colgan fan February 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    Another obnoxious post –

    At least not pretending to be an expert like the WSJ guy.

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