What is remarkable about the mainstream media coverage of the Air Force One flyover scandal in New York is how incurious they remain. NewsBusters managing editor, Ken Shepherd, has already pointed out how the Washington Post has labeled a mere 54-word apology as "profuse."
Currently the MSM seems to accept the explanation that it was was an obscure official in the White House who caused Air Force One to fly low over New York. Here is more from the same "profuse apology" Washington Post article:
The FAA did not return calls fo comment, and the Air Force referred calls to the White House. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, when questioned about the matter at his daily afternoon briefing, said he was unaware of the photo mission.
Finally, in the early evening, Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, who said he approved the mission last week, shouldered the blame.
"I take responsibility for that decision," Caldera said in a statement. "While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused."
Yes, it was all the fault of Louis Caldera! This obscure White House official got on the phone and ordered Air Force One to buzz Manhattan on his own without telling anybody higher up in the White House. Plus he took responsibility for it all not just once but TWICE in the same paragraph! Case closed!
That now seems to be the attitude of the mainstream media to this incident. Unknown Louis took responsibility for the flyover so no need to investigate further.
And why were officials in New York unaware of the impending Air Force One flyover? According to Fernanda Santos of the New York Times, it was the fault of yet another obscure official who forgot about an e-mail:
On Monday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was fuming. On Tuesday, he was forgiving, characterizing the actions of a low-level manager who failed to notify him or his superiors of a planned flyover exercise in Lower Manhattan as merely a mistake.
Perhaps it was because the mayor had already punished the manager, Marc Mugnos, with a letter of reprimand (and, presumably, a tongue-lashing). Perhaps it was because of all the apologies the city had received – from Mr. Mugnos, most likely, and also from the White House. (President Obama has ordered a review of the matter.)
“The guy just didn’t do it. He read the thing and just didn’t do it,” Mayor Bloomberg told reporters during a news conference at City Hall, referring to Mr. Mugnos’ inaction after receiving an e-mail last Thursday from the Federal Aviation Administration, notifying him of the plans for a flyover by F-16s and a backup to Air Force One. (The New York Police Department also received the same e-mail.)
Towards the end of the article Santos, after a long, tortured, explanation of why Unknown Marc would receive such an important e-mail, triumphantly concludes:
Woo! Hoo! It's all clear now as to why New York City officialdom was unprepared for the Air Force One photo-op buzzing of lower Manhattan. It was all the fault of one Marc Mugnos and the forgotten e-mail. Time now to move along and, oh, forget about actually interviewing Unknown Marc:
Mr. Mugnos could not be reached for comment. Mr. Bloomberg said that his was an error in judgment, that he has been reprimanded and that “we’ve all learned something” from the situation. “Now,” the mayor added, “it’s time to make sure our procedures are better and to get on with other things.”
In stark contrast to the purposeful incuriosity of the MSM, are the blogosphere and talk radio. The Virginian blog asks who wanted those photo-ops of Air Force One:
We know who has taken the fall, Louis Caldera, the Director of the White House Military Office. But lots of questions remain. And in today’s political climate, “taking the fall” means being the one who says he’s sorry. The days of falling on one’s sword, even metaphorically, are long gone for Democrats.Who wanted new pictures of Air Force One against the New York skyline? Why was there a demand for secrecy? And, of course, the big question: who thought that low flying jumbo jets over Manhattan would pass un-noticed by the people who watched their friends die just eight years ago?
The first question: who wanted the pictures is likely someone in the Obama political image camp. Caldera is political appointee (who is not particularly popular even with Obama supporters) in a post that is traditionally held by a military officer. We either have to believe that he woke up one morning and decided that the pictures of Air Force One in the archives were out of date, or … more likely … someone in charge of the Obama image machine decided that images of Air Force one next to the Statue of Liberty would be useful in the future and tasked Caldera to do it.
The second question – the demand for secrecy – is a puzzle. You can’t run a 747 up and down the Hudson River without anyone noticing. Only months ago someone landed a commercial airliner in the river. It’s one of the most densely populated parts of the world. Were they afraid that if they told New Yorkers that they would be able to see Air Forced One fly by someone would take a shot at it?
I think that I have the answer to question number 3, why the people who ordered this had no idea of the reaction. The people who populate the Obama administration really don’t believe in 9/11. They may have read about it, They may know intellectually that it happened. But they view it the same way we may view a lightning strike that hits an isolated golfer: a billion-in-one shot that “just happened.” That’s why the Obama team is renaming the attacks of 9/11 as “man-caused disasters” putting it on the same moral plane as an auto wreck. That’s why the Obama team is not really concerned about revealing what we do to interrogate prisoners with vital information. They don’t believe we haven anything to worry about. Unlike the people who evacuated their buildings during the fly-bys and who ran for their lives, believing that they were under another attack. For Team Obama, it’s always 9/10.UPDATE: A few other thoughts:
Who was doing the photography? In the pictures I saw the Air force jet trailing Air Force One was not in a position to take good pictures. Was there a photo plane? If so, where was it? Would it have not been much cheaper to photo-shop an image of Air Force One next to the Statue of Liberty and get the same effect? Were there any passengers on Air Force One during this flight? Was this a joy ride that bombed?
If you were listening to Rush Limbaugh yesterday, then you heard him discuss this Air Force One flyover at length and bringing up issues that would make the MSM very nervous about investigating:
This thing in New York yesterday with the flyover, Air Force One getting some pictures, flying past the Statue of Liberty, buzzing Ground Zero at a thousand feet, did you see the videotapes? People scramming from their office buildings, running through the streets like the blob had been turned loose in their office building. Then they went and they asked Gibbs about it, (paraphrasing) "How am I supposed to know where Air Force One is?" Obama was reported to be furious. Chuck Schumer, why, this is outrageous, these photo-ops, and they blamed the Bush FAA for doing all this. I'll guarantee you, if this incident had happened with George Bush we would not know the name of the military officer who ordered this, who's been forced to fall on the sword, this guy Caldera.
Let me tell you the truth about this. The whole Obama administration is a photo-op; but, folks -- this is only common sense -- Obama cannot credibly say he didn't know that this was happening. There are two Boeing 747s that suffice as Air Force One, and every time Obama goes someplace, both of them fly. These travel schedules are worked out days, weeks in advance. It takes a major movement to get Air Force One in the air on a presidential trip. So, they had to go through the schedule, and they had to say we want to do the photo-op. Now, maybe not to Obama personally, but he had to be told at some point, "You can't travel on Monday, the 27th. Are you traveling on the 27th, are we going to go anywhere on the 27th?" It might go through Rahm Emanuel, but eventually somebody is going to go to Obama, and he's going to say, "Why?" "Well, that's the day we scheduled a photo-op up there. We're going to get new pictures of Air Force One flying by the Statue of Liberty." Just like our guy Victor from Boca Raton called, Obama doesn't know, he doesn't know any of these things are happening, he's just totally unaware, he's furious. I'll guarantee you, if Bush were president when this had happened, only Bush would have made the decision, we wouldn't have heard of this Caldera guy or anybody else in the FAA or the White House office of military planning. (interruption) Yeah, of course they wanted to keep it quiet. Their notion of security is crazy.
Limbaugh discusses this at even greater length, including sound bites of various officials involved, which can can read in this transcript.
The sad fact is that even the World Socialist Web Site is more skeptical about the official version of the Air Force Flyover than the MSM is.
(Photo Credit: Photoshop picture from National Review)