Editorial

The motorist who drove flying vehicle was no hero

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.

I am deeply disappointed in my brethren in the media for continuing the practice of promoting narcissists, particularly those who exhibit bad behavior.

The most recent example came last week at the 142nd Avenue Dorr exit (No. 68) off the U.S.-131 expressway, where a motorist judged to be impaired by overuse of alcohol went airborne. Indeed, it was a spectacular occurrence if you’re among the many who enjoy car crashes in movies and television shows.

I have to agree the video taken by the nearby Huizinga repair business captured the astonishing nature of the brief “fancy flight.”

I have no quarrel with media taking notice of the incident. It reminds me of one of my most used quotes while I was a full-time community journalist: “It isn’t news when airplanes take off and land safely. It is when they crash.”

My issue is the “follow-up” feature on the driver of the vehicle. He was interviewed for a story on what he was thinking (he wasn’t) and what he was drinking (a fair amount of horizontal lubricant).

So once again, the media pays a lot of attention to someone who demonstrates foolish and dangerous behavior, almost glorifying his alarming stunt. There’s an old saying that negative publicity is better than no publicity. In fact, the only negative feedback that can be given in this case is ignoring the aftermath and showing indifference.

But no.

Somehow, print and broadcast media rewarded this individual by paying attention afterward and making him a “bad boy star.”

It’s almost like interviewing a serial killer or a gunman who used his weapon to eliminate a whole bunch of innocent people. To be sure, there are many people who want to know why, or want to get inside the mind of the wrongdoer. But somehow along the way, we collectively are making him out to be some kind of a hero.

This motorist, according to news reports, had his license taken away from him about a year ago because of his track record of substance abuse and endangering the lives of others.

In another twist, I recently spotted a Facebook post asking for funding support for him in the wake of his “accident.” To me, it was justifiable that only $10 was contributed in response to the request. What this guy should get instead is locked up so he can’t harm anyone in the future.

I suppose the media would respond to my commentary by explaining that they’re just giving readers what they want. That’s what a prostitute does, and if she gets caught, she’s placed behind bars.

Once again, I won’t quarrel with reporting on the spectacular flight of the errant vehicle. But I won’t abide rewarding him for risky behavior.

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