All a-Twitter

I wish I had a great story to tell you, or some horrifying video to post here about going through airport security over the Thanksgiving break. Though I had admittedly scratched my head and made that Scooby Doo sound (“Hoh?”) when reading about the huge, national uproar over “the new measures,” I’d decided there must be some reason people were all up and arms.

Um, yeah. (I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. I stood in the foot outlines, made that funny triangle shape over my head with my hands and let someone look at my shadowy form. It was more like going to a yoga class than through a prison pat-down.)

That’s why I enjoyed this piece by David Carr. It’s thoughtful, angry, funny and smart. And it helped me understand the strangeness of what he calls “the media mushroom cloud.”

What do you think? Do we need to do more of this kind of “truth detection” and analysis while we are in the midst of a story like this one? How meta should we get?



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11 Responses to All a-Twitter

  1. EmokeBebiak says:

    Wow, this article was really informative.

    I was actually wondering how this whole media frenzy started. I remember the day before I flew out of St. Louis I read a NYT article that quoted people describing how TSA agents patted down every inch of them (yes, even there). So I was both scared and frustrated on the day of my travel. But nothing happened!! Then I thought it’s because I was flying out of smalltown St. Louis, which, let’s be honest, is not an international travel hub.

    I thought Newark was going to be the real deal, but again, nothing. It was almost disappointing that I got to the airport early and ready to be harassed and nothing happened. The TSA agent even smiled at me.

    Anyways, this article describes really well all the factors that contributed to the spread of this hysteria. It’s interesting that Twitter and other social networks were the ones that amplified it. Now that I think about it, I got most of my ideas about the airport security changes from my Twitter feed. I even saw links to videos there where people decided to go through security in bathing suits. (Now those were fun, but absolutely not helpful to show what really was going on at airports.)

    And of course, when the media get all worked up about something, SNL is right there to make fun of it. (

  2. Ben Frentzel says:

    The best way to approach this was with humor, so a high-five goes to David Carr.

    I’m excited for the next time I fly. I’m gonna have lots of fake tattoos on my chest and thighs and wear my Superman underwear, just in case I get scanned.

  3. rosiedowney says:

    I liked this article a lot. I flew home for Thanksgiving and was surprised at the ease in which I went through the scanner. It’s nice to see those sentiments expressed in the press. It is also a good piece because, like Emoke said, it actually named more than one way that this press frenzy began. Analysis like this is important and should be used as often and as early in the press frenzy period as possible.

  4. danramey says:

    I really liked this story a lot because I felt that the media coverage on the topic was really blown out of proportion. I had not really heard anything about the story until after I went through security but after that I heard plenty about it. That story in particular was pretty much all that my grandfather talked about over the break.

    I was one of the lucky ones to be selected for the scanning both times that I went through security over the break. In between my two trips through the scanner, I found plenty of angry articles to read about. I must say after reading these articles, I was expecting to see a bunch of angry travelers resisting the scans on the way back but every took their turn in either the scanner or the metal detector without complaint. The only difference I could tell was a little longer line at security.

    With this experience in mind, Carr’s piece really spoke to me. I think that it is important to do these types of stories to keep the media accountable. It can be easy to get carried away (as Carr points out) when a “big” story pops up during a fairly slow news period. While the audience has the power to (and should) keep the media accountable, members of the media have access to resources that allow them to better sort through the information and really determine how big something is. One role of the media is to disseminate important information to the public and I think dispelling hysteria-inducing stories is a component of that.

  5. Great article — informative, funny, and proportional. Proportion is exactly what this situation needed from the start.

    It’s easy to get caught up in the social media frenzy, and it’s tempting to think that where there’s a frenzy, there’s a story. And there usually is — but it’s not always the story we think it is, as this situation demonstrates.

  6. Caitlin Miller says:

    I liked this story because it seemed to handle the topic with a critical eye. I liked how it was funny and thoughtful, yet still got the message through. I also really appreciated the detailed breakdown of why he thought the TSA story became so popular. I thought the bold words were a good choice because it broke it down short and sweet for readers. Overall I enjoyed this.

  7. Dustin says:

    This story didn’t make sense from the outset. Why would everyone want to create social change on the same day they all wanted to see their families? Most of the reports I saw, and as mentioned in the article, reported faster lines than normal.

    An enjoyable story highlighting the news idiocy that now walks in hand with immediacy.

  8. Great article. It’s funny and informative. But most importantly, very critical with a very debatable policy.

  9. Honestly, when I saw all of the attention the scanners were getting, I was just plain annoyed. It took over everything and quite frankly I really didn’t care that much about it.

    It was happening regardless of how annoyed people got with it, but the media capitalized on that annoyance and ran with it.

    And this article got to the heart of it, but not with just an opinion. There was a lot of research and critical analysis that went into his argument, and I thought it was really valuable. It really captured every angle of why this body scanner was made into a mountain.

  10. Allison Seibel says:

    This article brings up such good points! The way this situation was reported and executed really contributed to the “frenzy” and the attention this story of the new security got. It’s almost like the media took advantage of the situation, or even created it. I think that they really blew this out of proportion. Reading articles and seeing pictures of it, it makes it seem like such a big deal and that travelers are so angry, etc. But that’s just not the case. I would call what the media did inaccurate.

  11. maryals says:

    I agree with Kelsey, annoyed is a good way to describe how I felt about all the attention this story was getting from the media. That being said I enjoyed Carr’s article. It made me chuckle if nothing else.

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