Good Americans Don't Criticize The TSA! Only a COMMIE Would Do That!

Politics & Current Events

Back in September, I wrote about how writer Amy Alkon was — in her view, and mine — sexually assaulted by a TSA agent and then threatened with a defamation suit for writing about the incident.

Amy wrote an opinion piece about the experience, and since September, has been trying to get it published in the American media. Now, it's a big deal for me to get published, but Amy's been published in all sorts of mainstream, widely-read publications, including as a syndicated columnist. It's no big deal for her. Yet, no matter how far and wide she shopped the column, she found that the American media — including outlets that had published her before — were not interested in her description of a TSA agent groping Amy's privates and then threatening to sue when she complained.

Amy has finally found a media outlet willing to run her story.

It's Pravda. Yes, that Pravda. You can read Amy's post about it here, and read the Pravda English language version here.

Now, choosing which stories to publish is an art, not a science. Perhaps the American media outlets didn't care for Amy's writing — even though they had published her many times before. Perhaps the story didn't grab them, perhaps they had no room that month, perhaps they were emphasizing other crucial stories like the tragic Kardashian divorce.

Perhaps.

But, as I argued a year ago, though the media has reported on passenger accounts of TSA abuse, when it comes to editorial comment, the media has generally acted as the TSA's dutiful fluffers, compliantly parroting the line that good citizens must endure this for their safety.

Call me a cynic. But I think that might have had something to do with it.

Now, did Pravda publish Amy's story because it still delights in illuminating America's shame? Perhaps. But Russians also know bureaucratic thuggery when they see it.

You can find all of our TSA coverage here.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Professor Coldheart  •  Dec 21, 2011 @2:14 pm

    You can find all of our TSA coverage

    Did you hit "Publish" before adding the links or did the Politburo get to you?

  2. Ken  •  Dec 21, 2011 @2:16 pm

    Forgot to buy a vowel.

  3. Pakkinpoppa  •  Dec 21, 2011 @2:25 pm

    Ah…air travel…
    Last time I decided to subject myself to a checkpoint to board a privately owned vehicle, I was wearing Cat boots (safety steel toes!) and carrying a Swiss Army Knife. Not the little tiny one with the nailfile, no, the Tinker model with the pliers.

    I only carried it because I was headed to NYC to visit family, with my family, and at the time was under the impression that a blade which locked open was "verboten" in that area. It was returned to me after walking through the metal detector, and yes, I did remove my boots because of the toes.

    I haven't flown since, that's been about 12 years ago. I have no real need to fly anyplace at the moment. If that changes, well, the boots go with me, but I'll have to check my bag.

    Honestly, why people subject themselves to such intrusion says quite a lot about how far we've gone as a people.

    To be fair, I have been through metal detectors more recently, but that was due to having to go to court to get custody of my son…another story for another day.

  4. Mike  •  Dec 21, 2011 @2:33 pm

    Your co-blogger Patrick and I have the irony of having to turn to the Russian Times for any decent reporting on the U.S.

  5. VPJ  •  Dec 21, 2011 @2:35 pm

    I love irony. I savor the sweet, sweet flavor of contrary expectations generated by–what? She had to publish it where?

    I think I just OD'd on irony. I gotta go lie down for a minute.

  6. Beauzeaux  •  Dec 21, 2011 @2:41 pm

    I see that she is represented by the redoubtable Marc J. Randazza — a name that strikes fear in the hearts of bully boys (and girls) everywhere.
    Good for her.

  7. Luna_the_cat  •  Dec 21, 2011 @3:43 pm

    I reserve judgement on the Pravda, given that I've seen some of the drek they've published in the past. I have no doubt that they are publishing this simply because such an embarrassment to America is too ripe and juicy a tidbit to pass up. But primarily, I am horrified and profoundly disturbed that this is the only venue that would publish Amy Alkon's story. That's just effing wrong.

    I see things like that, and like http://www.tpalexanders.com/2011/10/19/the-constitution-breaks-bad-in-albuquerque/ , and I wonder just where America is headed next. But not in a good way.

  8. Luna_the_cat  •  Dec 21, 2011 @3:59 pm

    It's also been noted, of course, that power over others coupled with low social status is a combination which seems to push people towards abuse.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/24/us/california-power-status-study/index.html

    The TSA has set up a situation where abuse is never going to be just a rare anomaly, and this ought to be a surprise to no-one.

  9. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Dec 21, 2011 @5:32 pm

    There's been something weird going on with the media and air travel for a while now, much longer than TSA has been in existence. the vast majority of what I read about air travel (outside of subversive rags like Reason) tended to argue that "deregulation" had failed (in spite of the fact that outside of certain overused corridors prices had dropped), and/or waxing nostalgic about the days when flying was limited to the elite. I have to suspect that a lot of media weenies are happy to see "The Masses" that spoiled Air Travel being mauled about.

    The Media Establishment may talk about the common folk, but if you pay attention you soon notice that they don't really like them much.

  10. EH  •  Dec 21, 2011 @11:21 pm

    "(in spite of the fact that outside of certain overused corridors prices had dropped), and/or waxing nostalgic about the days when flying was limited to the elite."

    Oh, flying used to be a shit-ton more expensive. That's why only the elites you mention could do it. However, that was 35 years ago. I'm not sure that even media weenies have that kind of grudge power.

  11. Mandy  •  Dec 22, 2011 @8:39 am

    Luna – Ken wrote a piece about how the less "important" someone is, the more they huff and puff about their authority. I don't remember the name of the post but the content basically said that the FBI agent isn't going to get in your face about who he is and how much power he has. It's going to be some pissant nobody that does that. It was a good post; maybe you can find it.

  12. mojo  •  Dec 22, 2011 @9:50 am

    The best way to avoid unwanted groping by the TSA is probably to act like you love it, and ask for more.

    Enjoying it really bums the bastards out. You're not supposed to.

  13. Scott Jacobs  •  Dec 22, 2011 @1:18 pm
  14. Luna_the_cat  •  Dec 23, 2011 @7:25 am

    @Mandy, @Scott,

    Indeed, that's exactly the thing I was thinking of. Shame on me, I should have looked to see if the popehat covered it first!

    (Sorry for the delayed response, btw. Christmas parties.)

  15. Luna_the_cat  •  Dec 23, 2011 @8:07 am

    Incidentally, I think there is one way in which it's legitimate to say that people resent the fact that more people fly.

    More people fly because it is (in real terms) cheaper than it used to be to fly, on many routes.

    It is cheaper than it used to be, because most airlines have gone with the plan of cramming as many people into each plane as they can physically fit, and then just a few more.

    And, I have to admit, I do resent having only 17 square inches in which to put my legs.

  16. Tam  •  Dec 23, 2011 @8:58 am

    Luna_the_cat,

    "It is cheaper than it used to be, because…"

    Of deregulation. Without deregulation, there would have been no point in packin' 'em in like sardines, because there was nobody to pack.

  17. Luna_the_cat  •  Dec 23, 2011 @9:03 am

    @Tam

    I'm not following this. How do you figure? Are you saying that people didn't want to travel before deregulation? What do you attribute to deregulation — what did deregulation remove that helped?

  18. Luna_the_cat  •  Dec 23, 2011 @9:07 am

    …That's a genuine question, by the way. Airline deregulation is *not* an area I know a huge amount about.

  19. PLW  •  Dec 23, 2011 @9:09 am

    Price controls and entry restrictions on routes. Under the CAB, a firm could not cut prices or enter a route without the permission of a government board.

  20. Luna_the_cat  •  Dec 23, 2011 @10:17 am

    "Under the CAB, a firm could not cut prices or enter a route without the permission of a government board."

    …Yeah, that IS daft. I can see where removing that helped the consumer.

    But wasn't that done in 1978, and even then there were also growing numbers of air travelers? I mean, I was flying by 1974 (although I was entirely apolitical back then), and I don't recall airports being exactly deserted. So I'm not convinced by the "nobody to pack in" scenario.

    My thought, though, would be that the continued dropping of prices by airlines through the last couple of decades, especially, could only have been done by cutting costs and hiking capacity — not necessarily by adding new aircraft to the fleet, but by pushing more and more people onto each plane. I mean, they could sell 280 tickets at $400 each, or 455 tickets at $250 each, what do you think they would go for? And it's cheaper for them to redo seating than it is to design more efficient airplanes.

  21. Ken  •  Dec 23, 2011 @10:22 am

    I would contribute to this discussion, but I edited a detailed article about airline deregulation in a Harvard Law School journal (no, not the Law Review), and as a result I know nothing useful about the subject whatsoever.

  22. DMG  •  Dec 24, 2011 @10:19 am

    It doesn't help that Amy is a bit of a hack…just saying.

  23. VPJ  •  Dec 24, 2011 @12:44 pm

    Doesn't help your argument that she's non-hackish enough to have been published many times in the same MSM publications that rejected this article.

    And speaking of hacks, have you read some of the NYT columnists?

  24. SPQR  •  Dec 24, 2011 @3:35 pm

    DMG, "just saying" ? Uh, no, just trolling would be more like it.

  25. VPJ  •  Dec 25, 2011 @10:08 pm

    You have got to be kidding me. Someone please tell me I'm reading the Onion.

  26. Tam  •  Dec 26, 2011 @9:10 am

    Luna_the_cat,

    "My thought, though, would be that the continued dropping of prices by airlines through the last couple of decades, especially, could only have been done by cutting costs and hiking capacity — not necessarily by adding new aircraft to the fleet, but by pushing more and more people onto each plane."

    Yes, because deregulation forced the realities of the marketplace into the formerly tranquil artificial environment. Airlines are now free to compete for your business. The easiest way to do this is by slashing fares. However they have to earn a profit, so if each PAX is paying less to put their butt in a seat, then you need more seats to make the profits that were formerly guaranteed by government fiat.

    (Incidentally, once we peeled all the Nerf padding off the pricing and route selection, profits fell by more than half and inefficient airlines died like flies, but it's still easier and cheaper to fly than ever.)

    Hey, if a Kennedy-hugging pinko like Justice Breyer and a wookie-suited anarchist like me agree on something, there might be something to it. ;)

  27. Jess  •  Jan 1, 2012 @4:11 pm

    I admire Amy for calling it like it is. Meantime for all other ladies that travel I'll make a few suggestions that might help prevent this going forward. First, it's important to note – the TSA cannot touch you without your consent. You may not fly that day but you never have to let them touch you. I find that saying "I'm really sorry to be such an inconvenience but NO I won't go through the scanner". Works well. Second, never ever go through the porno scanner. Third always ask for a private pat down – this way if you need to object to something they can't threaten to have LEO arrest you for disrupting the process of screening other passengers. BTW you have the right to record your private screening. Fourth, wear a nice thick maxipad. If they discover this during the pat down because they are touching somewhere they shouldn't and they ask what is is – simply state it is a feminine pad which you are wearing for reasons that should be obvious to them as women. If they insist you remove it – act amazed and say "what you expect me to soil myself" then insist they call in a law enforcement officer (LEO). Most LEOs are not tolerant of the stupidity of the TSA and can be more easily reasoned with. Remember never raise your voice – act calm at all times and be as pleasant and cooperative as is reasonable. Even though that will be difficult when dealing with TSA personnel who don't follow their own rules. So far, I've only been asked to go through the scanner 4 times. I've opted out all 4 times. Wore a maxipad each time – yet the TSA person pattnig me down never even realized I was wearing one. 4th time the woman went inside along the waistband which I thought was unnecessary. Overall – each of the 4 pat downs was not anything I would consider assault and I don't like to be touched. What is obvious to me is that the TSA is not consistent and that some people have a pat down that is non offensive and other TSA personnel do things they shouldn't.