The news media bought a one-way ticket and boarded the story about that runway runaway male flight attendant for JetBlue.
They’ve made Steven Slater a folk hero for the way he quit his job —- F-bombing away at passengers on the flight at New York’s Kennedy Airport and then grabbing a couple of brewskis and exiting via the emergency chute.
Slater has been touted as an American working-class hero by the media. He’s been christened the poster boy for how Americans sometimes feel when they’d like to tell the boss to take this job and shove it. And because he did just that, he made news and the clock immediately started to tick away on his 15 minutes of fame.
Of course the media being the media, it went along for the ride to make Slater the face of angry America and have followed his every move like paparazzi stalking Princess Di.
What the media failed to mention, because they were so rapped up in the fact that Slater’s Facebook friends had suddenly topped the 100,000 mark, was the fact that you’d have to be out of your mind to quit your job in this tanking economy.
Never mind the fact that Slater’s bizarre but highly touted exit could have endangered flight crews on the ground and that he will possibly face criminal charges for his actions. It’s a fun story.
People can identify with the Howard Beale “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”flavor of the moment.
It’s such a pop culture phenomenon one cable news channel, while talking about the anger the country is feeling over the headed for hell in a handbasket economy, called it “a JetBlue flight attendant nation.”
Welcome to the lexicon, JetBlue. You probably would rather have had your place in American pop culture circling over a more positive light — but this is what you’ve landed.
As for Slater, there’s already talk (as there always is when someone makes news out of the ordinary) of a reality TV show in his future.
But wait. Some passengers who were on that JetBlue plane are trying to tarnish Slater’s working-class hero status by telling the media that the flight attendant was “rude.”
What, a male flight attendant with an attitude? No one who has ever flown on any airline that had male flight attendants have ever encountered such a thing.
The media will gloss over that because it’s found it’s hero of the moment — but please, don’t compare Slater’s boiling over point to Capt. Sully, the hero pilot who safely landed that passenger jet in the Hudson River last year.
In fact, the media has already made that absurd comparison. They can do that because, you know, they both worked for an airline. Their individual incidents happened in New York. One’s a hero and the other’s a working-class hero.
The news media doesn’t have to prove anymore that they are obsessed with celebrity. That’s a given.
But the news media may want to do a better job on so-called human-interest stories before bestowing hero status on someone who has a major hissy fit and drops F-bombs over the loudspeaker to passengers. If you’ve ever flown any airline you know with all the waiting and uncomfortable seating conditions that it’s not prime rib and a good vino in first class for you either.
The media should also cool it with not only being celebrity-obsessed, but being obsessed with creating celebrities.
Aren’t there enough of them reporting the news as it is?