|The American Spectator
The Goblin on the Wing of Flight
By Reid Collins
In the wee small hours of the morning of Halloween a
goblin was attached to the tragedy of Egypt Air's flight
990 that may haunt it forever.
One network said it "had learned" and wire service
reports carried the word also that the plane had made a
stop at Edwards Air Force Base after departing Los
None of the coifed and brow-lilting anchors seemed to
find this bit of intelligence intriguing and for several hours
of nauseating "breaking news" this stop-over was merely
repeated as a factoid of the tragedy. No one seen here
stopped in mid-brow-lift to note that a regularly
scheduled commercial flight landing at a secured base
where the latest in Air Force and NASA developed craft
are tested would be a singular event, demanding
immediate and full inquiry. Finally, however, the
Edwards unscheduled stop was excised from the
coverage as a "mistake." No explanation.
But for the conspiracists, the Edwards stop story was and
is a bonanza.
With the tragedy of TWA 800's demise still wrapped in
enigma, with JFK Jr.'s mysterious plunge into essentially
the same waters wanting final explanation, the simple
expungement of the Edwards landing from the 990 copy
cannot be enough.
What is needed is what the media never does: autopsy
the story. Backtrack to the original point. There is a
source. A report of a commercial 767's unscheduled
landing at a base where the other craft have "X" as a
pre-fix (if any designation at all) does not produce itself.
A living person originated that unfact, perhaps an
innocent trying to pretend he knew why the flight was
late out of LAX, but not likely.
Too imaginative for your average flak.
A network with regard for its own integrity would busy
itself the moment the "breaking news" banner came
down with ferreting out the singular fact: Who told us
that and why?
A wire service mindful of its history would quietly
re-check through its desks, foreign and domestic, to
discover the source.
And then, each would tell the world. Not only that it was
an untruth but also that the untruth came about thusly.
And a shovel's worth of conspiracy fodder would be
removed from a world whose garden of truths gets more
weed-infested every day.
Reid Collins was a reporter for CBS and CNN.
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