esmaspäev, juuni 28, 2004

Damn You, Isikoff

Via Atrios, we get Craig Unger's letter to Newswek and the magazine's reply.

Now, I'm not someone who particularly cares about those flights. I think it was a mistake for Moore to make them central to his argument. They're a little odd, but they seem to have been legit. Still, nothing Moore and Unger say in the movie about it is untrue. It does seem slightly misleading, but there may be a rather strange error in Newsweek's response to Unger's letter.

Unger cites, first of all, specific evidence that Isikoff simply misrepresented his comments both in the film and in an interview. This is no surprise. Isikoff is a worthless hack. Then he provides evidence of a single flight that occurred while flights were still restricted. Newswek's response:

The Tampa flight in question was a domestic flight to Lexington, Ky., that took off late on Sept. 13 after restrictions on flying had already been lifted and Tampa International Airport had reopened for business.

In the article Unger cites, however:

The plane first entered the airspace from the south, possibly from the Fort Lauderdale area, sometime after 3 p.m. and landed for the first time at 3:34 p.m. It took off at 4:37 p.m., headed north. It returned to Tampa at 8:23 p.m. and took off again at 8:48 p.m., headed south.

3 pm doesn't seem that late in the day. But okay, maybe that's fine. Or not:

Most of the aircraft allowed to fly in U.S. airspace on Sept. 13 were empty airliners being ferried from the airports where they made quick landings on Sept. 11. The reopening of the airspace included paid charter flights, but not private, nonrevenue flights.

"Whether such a (LearJet) flight would have been legal hinges on whether somebody paid for it," said FAA spokesman William Shumann. "That's the key."

So no, all restrictions on flight hadn't been lifted. And the restrictions on this flight in particular may not have been lifted. It's unclear whether that flight was paid for. So it seems Newsweek is wrong to state definitively that everything was okay.

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