Archived Story

Editorial: No cause for hysteria

Published 5:56pm Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cable news hyped the “outrage” at new airport security procedures the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began rolling out so extensively that they had a new story when travelers turned around and headed home.

Everything pretty much went okay.

It was the biggest ado about not much since Y2K (without getting into the orgy of Black Friday shopping coverage), bringing this about-over strange decade full circle.

New security procedures require passengers to submit to full-body scans and enhanced pat downs before they board.

There have been some well-publicized glitches, but in a relatively few instances compared to the wall-to-wall brouhaha when the 24/7 channels found themselves without a narrative with months of the Tea Party midterm election at a lull.

We saw plenty of interviews with travelers who have no problem with the protocol because they have “nothing to hide” or “I want to fly safe, and if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.”

We all felt like voyeurs as fliers were groped, but in the way of cable news, after a while it seemed like the same two or three pieces of film played over and over like “Groundhog Day” in the big national echo chamber that sheds more heat than light.

A possible third war in Korea could hardly find traction amid the onslaught of overwrought aviation soundbites.

Big airports such as O’Hare International in Chicago have scanning machines.

South Bend Regional Airport does not, but will next year.

Passengers who refuse or who set off the metal detector must submit to the infamous enhanced pat down, which has already been immortalized in a “Saturday Night Live” skit.

A same-sex TSA officer uses the inside of his or her hand to check for hidden objects around all areas of the body.

Like the woman flying to Mississippi who shrugged indifferently about body scanners, “It is what it is,” she said.

Yes, it’s a story.

Just not one that should have engulfed the airwaves.

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