Wanna insult a reporter? There’s no easier way than accusing him or her of being a shill for the other side, of churning out propaganda instead of covering a subject.
And that’s especially true when it comes to the TSA.
But consider the following “exclusive” story from a local ABC affiliate, which aired a few weeks ago.
It was an earnest report about the imminent dangers of a terrorist weapon being detonated on a plane. Explosives “experts” at Camp Pendleton in California rigged shoes and laptop computers and blew them up in front of a group of TSA trainees. They even let a reporter incinerate one of the props from a safe distance.
It made for terrific TV and it helped the TSA make the point that it, and its $8 billion a year budget, were urgently needed to keep America safe. Such demonstrations are a staple of the TSA publicity machine.
But as is so often the case, it’s not what was said, but what was not said, that made this report the latest feather in the TSA’s PR cap.