I'm looking for journalism that's a few steps up from mere transcription of official remarks. The Washington Post seems to be having a lot of trouble with that lately.
I once was confident the Post would survive the current vicious shakeout. Now I'm not so sure. With
- this proffer by Katharine Weymouth of Establishment access,
- this perennial blindness from Howard Kurtz
- in defense of this misleading tantrum of spite from Dana Milbank,
- and this ideological purge of Dan Froomkin,
Here's one more small example in the death of a thousand cuts.
This CNN report on the Air France Airbus 330 crash over the South Atlantic is far clearer about what we know and what we don't know than this reprinted Washington Post story. The Post story, which is supposed to be straight news, is more concerned about reassurance than facts:
[T]he 216 passengers and 16 crew on AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris were probably unaware during their final minutes that they were speeding from 35,000 feet toward the deadly crash.Even if the investigator implied this, which I doubt, it's bullshit. You can't fall that far without noticing that something is very wrong. I can't understand how any writer could fail to know this. He's a foreign correspondent, so he's been on a plane before. Surely he's noticed the tremendously more subtle but still plain-as-day moment when a plane starts its controlled descent.
The CNN story, although labelled an analysis, is factual and evinces the writer's prior knowledge:
Not only did the passengers have no reason to expect to ditch, but with the aircraft out of control it may have been impossible for them to reach them due to high G-forces.What neither of them reports, presumably because the facts are still unknown or unproven, is what trajectory the aircraft took to its ditching point and whether it had any forward airspeed.
The one scenario I'm aware of that is consistent with what little we know is an uncontrollable flat spin to a pancake crash. My reasoning:
- Landing belly down means the plane was not ballistic.
- Vertical crushing means vertical speed dominated over forward speed.