If you Have a Few Brain Cells to Spare, Watch This

I understand that the main job of cable news anchors/hosts is to fill time between commercials, but surely they could do better than this (wherein we get speculation about the metric system and the lack of “cowboys attitudes” in non-US pilots):

And, of course, the best part is the utter lack of comparative framework insofar as the incidences under discussion are cast as a wide “foreign” problem that utterly ignores the number of successful flights that take place on a daily basis.

via TPM.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I think you posted the wrong video segment here, Mr. Taylor. There was a brief mention of the English/Metric standards and possible conflicts caused by intermingling them, much like happened to one of our Mars probes, but then the guest went into the differing styles of pilot training in the US and in other countries. Here, the pilots are less likely to depend on the autopilots; in other nations, they usually only take direct control of the plane at the beginnings and ends of flights.

    Perhaps you were thinking of the Malaysian Air disappearance, when one of CNN’s anchors wondered if the plane had been sucked up by a black hole or something…

  2. @Jenos Idanian #13: It is the right video, as you well know.

    And the CNN example you mention is quite ridiculous as well (indeed, even moreso).

    But, of course, as usual you think everything is about partisan point-scoring–meaning it is necessary, I guess, to defend this vacuous clip because it is on Fox.

  3. David in KC says:

    Sigh…

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Oh did I pee on your pointlessly partisan cheap shot? It’s hardly my fault you didn’t remember the Mars Climate Orbiter or Don Lemon’s screwup of literal cosmic proportions…

    On the other hand, Lemon is on CNN, and nobody really watches that anyway, so it’s understandable how the screwup on the second-rate network would escape notice.

  5. @Jenos Idanian #13: There was nothing partisan about my post. You are the one that made it partisan. You desire to defend the metric issue is just pathetic.

    And, above all else, you missed the key point:

    And, of course, the best part is the utter lack of comparative framework insofar as the incidences under discussion are cast as a wide “foreign” problem that utterly ignores the number of successful flights that take place on a daily basis.

    But, of course, when you are accused of parroting Fox News talking points and then deny it, I will remember this interchange,.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    Since when has sh*tting on stupid news anchors “partisan?” I thought this was an American past time…

    I watched the entire video and saw no mention–in the video, in the article, or in the original TPM article–that mentions either political party.

  7. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Actually, I thought he’d posted the wrong video too. It doesn’t seem to match the description. Not the greatest piece of on-air journalism, but not really what I expected given Steven’s comments.

  8. KM says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I watched the entire video and saw no mention–in the video, in the article, or in the original TPM article–that mentions either political party.

    It came from FOX and thus this article MUST be a shot at the Right. Even though it claims “Fair and Balanced”, criticism is read as an attack on the Right always and demands a proportional response. Always. Meanwhile, the Left couldn’t really give a crap about CNN at this point….

    @Jenos:
    **sigh** Yes, Jenos, CNN is monumentally stupid for the whole plane thing but stupidity in one doesn’t excuse stupidity in another. This was just dumb, period, and it happened to be dumb while happening on FOX. Thus, Steven’s article wherein he points out the dumbness without actually mentioning what network it came from. Get over it.

  9. @Pinky: One’s mileage can certainly vary, but I must admit to low tolerance for this silly chatting and pontificating on the sofa routine regardless of which network it is on.

    Beyond that, however, given the thousands of international flights per year, and the relatively low incidence of accidents, even a hint that the problem is foreign training or the metric system is just silly from a probability point of view (indeed, it borders on the innumerate).

  10. @KM:

    CNN is monumentally stupid for the whole plane thing

    Indeed.

    The fixation of the cable networks on these stories is ridiculous. And CNN seemed worse the last go ’round. Of course, people love disaster stories and it is a cheap way to fill air time. As I noted above, “I understand that the main job of cable news anchors/hosts is to fill time between commercials.”

  11. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “But, of course, when you are accused of parroting Fox News talking points and then deny it, I will remember this interchange,.”

    But Jenos, like every “conservative” who constantly reposts Fox News and Rush Limbaugh talking points never never never never never never never never watches Fox or listens to Rush.

  12. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: ” even a hint that the problem is foreign training or the metric system is just silly from a probability point of view (indeed, it borders on the innumerate).”

    What does, however, make the conversation particularly “conservative” is the heavily implied notion that if the US uses one standard of measurement and everyone else in the entire world uses a different one, we are right and everyone else is wrong.

  13. KM says:

    @Pinky:

    Not the greatest piece of on-air journalism, but not really what I expected given Steven’s comments.

    “So it’s not just differences in the way we measure things?” @1:01

    Because she keeps asking the same stupid question. The expert started immediately talking about the difference between reliance on autopilot vs the willingness to take the stick. She asks AGAIN as soon as she gets a chance. It comes across as very “Are you SURE it’s not their weird way of counting? No? OK, then it must be their lack of balls to fly manually non-stop”. The expert is trying to explain, she’s trying to find fault.

    Whether over-reliance on autopilot is a valid problem gets lost in this woman asking if a system that most of the world uses (including both destination and source as well as the airline in question on an hourly basis) could be the problem since, you know, it’s different! Maybe she was prompted to say it by the network or maybe she came up with it herself but that she had to ask again just to be sure is a facepalm for a lot of people.

  14. Pinky says:

    @wr: Why do you think that all/most/somethingorother conservatives do listen to Limbaugh and watch Fox News?

  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Pinky:

    Echo chambers are comfortable.*

    *And yes, before this gets down to a “both sides do it” battle, lots of liberals like the echo chamber at MSNBC. Doesn’t make it OK.

  16. wr says:

    @Pinky: “Why do you think that all/most/somethingorother conservatives do listen to Limbaugh and watch Fox News?”

    I don’t. Just the ones who repeat all of the talking points. It’s always fun to see some “conservative” refer to Harry Reid as “Dingy Harry,” for instance, and then huffily insist he never listens to Limbaugh.

  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Apparently no one ever hears things second, third, or fourth hand? I think I first picked up on how scummy Harry Reid was at Ace of Spades.

    BTW, the best take on the whole plane hysteria was from Andy Richter (and, later, Clark Gregg).

  18. James Pearce says:

    @Pinky:

    Why do you think that all/most/somethingorother conservatives do listen to Limbaugh and watch Fox News?

    Like a second head or a third leg, it’s rather obvious sometimes. It’s a tone thing.

  19. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pinky: In this poll, which agrees with most of the data out there, the following news sources (and only the following sources) are more trusted than distrusted among consistent conservatives: The WSJ, Glenn Beck Show, Rush Limbaugh Program, Hannity, Drudge, Breitbart, Fox News, and the Blaze. So yes, among the most politically engaged conservatives, Limbaugh and Fox enjoy a near monopoly on opinion.

  20. Neil Hudelson says:

    @humanoid.panda: @wr:

    I believe Pinky wasn’t asking why you believe they watch Fox News–it would be silly to try to claim they don’t (or that liberals don’t watch MSNBC). Rather, Pinky was asking what you think the reason is that they do watch it.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I don’t watch MSNBC. But then, I don’t watch TV at all.***

    *** OK OK… I confess, I have watched the odd Daily Show or Colbert Report over the computer when my satellite link allows it. I haven’t yet watched any Last Week Tonight tho. Not sure why.

  22. Pinky says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Nope. I know far too many conservatives who don’t watch Fox News, just as I know far too many liberals who don’t watch MSNBC. There are more conservatives and liberals in a good-sized state than there are FNC/MSNBC viewers nationally.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I would think most scientists all over the world use the Metric system by default. Airlines too.

  24. @Pinky: It is clearly the case, based on ratings alone that a huge majority of conservatives do not watch Fox and huge majority of liberals don’t watch MSNBC (because a huge percentage of the population does not watch cable new at all).

    Having said that: it is interesting to me that many commenters will say things that sound like Limbaugh, or that parrot the prevailing Fox News talking points, but almost always deny listening/watching.

    Of course, it is possible to pick up said talking points from a variety of places.

    (I will confess, however, to not believing Jay Tea/Jenos because he far too often sounds just like those media outlets).

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: You started out with a simple observation on the vacuity of cable news. Now you have a partisan wrangle on your hands over whether and why people watch FOX News. There are days it doesn’t pay to get up, aren’t there? Especially given that this blog is basically a voluntary, unpaid, public service activity. (And greatly appreciated.)

    gVOR’s second law of thermodynamics – Nothing simple is ever easy.

  26. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Pinky:

    Oh, then I don’t understand your point. If all you are doing is pointing out that many conservatives and liberals don’t watch their respective outlets–well of course. There’s a sizeable chunk of the population who don’t watch TV, don’t have cable, etc.

    However, it’s clear that if one is conservative and one watches cable news, it is likely that one is watching Fox News. Indeed, 60% of its viewers consider themselves conservative. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/14/five-facts-about-fox-news/

    So what is your point?

    (In case it isn’t clear–I’m not trying to be combative. I truly don’t understand the point of your question.)

  27. @gVOR08: Ah well–I know what to expect, for the most part 🙂

    It is interesting, actually, that anyone is defending the clip.

  28. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: Actually, Steven was the first one to go to a political place. I’m sure that Jenos would have gotten there eventually, but Steven anticipated the jump and made this about pro- versus anti-Fox News.

  29. Pinky says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I don’t know if I had a point. More of a question. Actually, you make me ask the question again: do you realize that “most people who watch Fox News are conservative” isn’t the same thing as “most conservatives watch Fox News”?

  30. @Pinky: We have a different interpretation of Jenos’ original comment.

  31. Pinky says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: That’s probably because Jenos’s first comment felt like my reaction. I was watching the video waiting for the other shoe to drop, then looking down at the runtime and thinking “this isn’t going to happen”. I wouldn’t have brought up the CNN video as Jenos did, and he probably did that to start a CNN/FNC angle, given that he usually does take everything as political. But you jumped at that bait before I even noticed it. As I said, it was bad journalism, but then again, I didn’t see the Americans-as-cowboys stereotype either, so I was just left wondering whether you’d linked to the right clip. Now, also, I tend not to even notice the fog of logos and nonsense on the bottom third of news screens, so I didn’t notice the TPM logo (man, did I notice anything?). If I’d seen it, I would have made the connection to an anti-FNC angle quicker. “TPM makes fun of FNC” is inherently political.

  32. James Pearce says:

    @Pinky:

    “I was watching the video waiting for the other shoe to drop”

    I mean no offense, Pinky, but I think this is because you missed it.

    Consider: It matters not at all whether Indonesians use Celsius and we use Fahrenheit, or whether they use kilometers and we use miles. So Fox books this “former FAA official” to talk about differences in training and the host goes with kilometers….

    Pretty stupid, no?

    Sure, there’s a “point the fingers at Fox” element. That’s a given. Can you not see how stupid the premise of her questions are though?

  33. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    The only comparison between Fox and MSNBC exists in your imagination. Fox News is the intellectual headwaters of the conservative movement (and how sad is that?) MSNBCs market share is nothing like Fox’s and liberals do not take it very seriously.

  34. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I believe the terms under which Steven posted specifically exclude you:

    If you Have a Few Brain Cells to Spare, Watch This

  35. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    Funny, we never got one single cite from you that showed that liberals made comments here that showed they thought dead cops was a Christmas present. Have not forgotten about that one. I believe “CSMF” pretty much covers your act.

  36. dmhlt says:

    Oh, come on … of course the Faux News blonde is correct in blaming it on the metric mixup.

    We’ve all seen those destination road signs on the Interstate, for example:

    Chicago
    100 Miles
    160 Kilometers

    So clearly the pilot was gassing up thinking “Miles” – while the plane was calibrated for “Kilometers”

    Anyone can see that the Kilometers destination is a LOT further than the Miles one – so he simply ran out of gas.

  37. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Pinky:

    I don’t believe I claimed it was the same thing.

  38. Pinky says:

    @Neil Hudelson: We might be getting into minutiae here, but here goes. I originally asked why people assume that a sizable percentage of conservatives watch FNC. You replied, among other things, that a sizable percentage of FNC viewers are conservatives. I don’t know if you were addressing something else, or making a broader point, but it seemed like you were using that statement as a reply to my question. This isn’t a big deal, and I’m sorry if I’ve misread you on this.

  39. Pinky says:

    @James Pearce: Yes, I can see it, which is why I’ve said a couple of times now that she did a lousy job.

  40. Tyrell says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: The issue of “black holes” in the oceans is not unheard of, in fact they are being studied by scientists. In this case, it is extremely unlikely that a “black hole” was the cause of this airline disappearence. But the oceans can create weather disturbances. Judging from the radar images, there was a huge, powerful storm in the area; a storm with unusual clouds and colors. Such strange storms have the ability to create magnetic disturbances which could cause an airplane’s or ship’s instruments and computers to malfunction, extreme wind sheers, St. Elmos fire, static energy strikes, and rare phenomenon of cloud tunnels. Disruptions in time flow are also possible. Many a pilot and sailor/ship captain have witnessed unusual, unexplained events. Certain sections of the oceans are well known for unusual weather, strange occurrences and unexplained disappearances.
    See: newsdiscovery.com/earth/oceans/blackholes/130820htm

  41. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell:

    Disruptions in time flow are also possible.

    Cite please.

  42. Steve V says:

    How dare anyone accuse Pinky of listening to Rush Limbaugh? No, he listens to Mark Levin. Totally different.

  43. Pinky says:

    @Steve V: Media critics are different than lawyers.

  44. Ron says:

    Taylor is a hack same as all media is filled with hacks bred of the same ideology as a maggot on a piece of shit. Be smart and think for yourselves!!!

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Ron:
    WTF?