Sunday, November 21, 2010

The TSA controversy is legitimate but over sensationalized & about to be outrageously politicized

At this point I have been ambivalent about the TSA screening controversy, kind of reluctant to have an opinion.

Personally, I'm torn. I want to be supportive of any measures that truly increase the safety of air travel but I cannot ignore the privacy, dignity and civil liberties concerns.

One reality is that this controversy has been driven, in large part, by Drudge, talk radio and cable TV, all of whom have less than constructive motivations.

Another reality is the pat down is very intrusive. When I hear the stories of cancer patients, children and women who feel violated my immediate reaction is to have the TSA immediately suspend this practice (you will notice I didn't go so far as to say prohibit).

I believe there has to be a better solution, one that meets the standards of basic human dignity/privacy/civil liberties, while meeting the public safety objectives the policy intends to achieve.

Make no mistake a lot of the heat on the TSA is not about right v. wrong its about taking down Napalitano and Obama.

Its not lost on me that a number of the people screaming the loudest about the TSA pat downs were the same folks who looked the other way on warrantless wiretapping and other civil liberties violations under the Bush administration. I also hope that my friends who opposed the intrusive policies of the Bush administration take a minute before embracing the TSA's new procedures.

The media has a responsibility to make sure they cover this story objectively and not for sensational ratings. The other day NBC5 in Chicago sent a reporter to cover the controversy and she interviewed a number of travelers, most of him were not sounding the alarms you'd think they would by the way this story has been covered. That tells me, that while this is a legitimate issue maybe there needs to be less sensationalism, less politics and more dialogue about what makes good public policy.

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