by Gene Royer - a voice of reason in a babbling society. April 14th, 2001
Okay. I can remain silent no longer. Why do the U.S. news media insist on referring to the current stand-off as the Spy Plane incident? Why do media people insist on calling it a spy plane when the facts clearly indicate otherwise? Are they ignorant or just plane perfidious (no pun intended)?
If we look up the definition of spy in the dictionary we see: as a verb (1) to observe covertly, usually for hostile purposes; and as a noun (2) one who acts in a clandestine manner or on false pretenses to obtain information.
Does anyone really think the huge four-engine plane was a secret to the Chinese? Of course not. Does anyone think the plane was pretending to be a routine junket for democratic congressmen to spend taxpayer money on--or some other kind of innocuous military exercise? I think not. No, the plane flew along the same path every day, and probably had been doing so for twenty or thirty years. When I was in Europe in the '50s and '60s, our air force customarily flew those kinds of surveillance missions along the free world borders of the Soviet Bloc.
And neither was this mission "clandestine" because it was conducted in international waters--perfectly legal by world standards.
So, why do the media insist on calling it a "spy" mission? I think the answer is simple-and, at the same time, appalling. The news media only score points (read that high ratings) when there is a controversy or crisis. The administration of George W. Bush has refused to elevate this to "crisis" level, thereby robbing the media of one of their necessary food groups for survival. Their only remaining option is to stir the controversy by making it sound as "crisis-like" as possible. Hence, a "spy" mission gone bad--where the U.S. is obviously the culprit. After all, spying is a no-no, right?
This was a surveillance mission, pure and simple. It was absolutely legal under international law, and the Chinese pilot's hostile action, which resulted in his death, was an encroachment on the larger aircraft's right to proceed. That our own citizen-news-media would stoop to this subversive level in order to propagate their own interests--and further endanger the lives of our servicemen--is, in my opinion, borderline treason.
That's the way I see it; and, of course, I'm right.