More on the Michelle Obama 'Close Call' That Wasn't

By James Fallows

Taiwan's challenger to the Onion, Next Media Animation, has a solution to the problem of U.S. air traffic controllers dozing off because of overnight work shifts. Just outsource the jobs to China, as with so many other jobs! One of the advantages is listed in the subtitle below.

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NMA also has an artistic recreation of the "dangerously close" "near-miss" of the First Lady's plane with an Air Force tanker. Their version does a better job of rendering the Air Force C-17 than the modified Boeing 737 that carried Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden, but it's more or less the scene you would imagine from headlines about a "near-miss":

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Full NMA video after the jump.

As to whether I was alone or a crank in viewing the Washington Post's front-page coverage of this episode as scare-mongering -- well, OK, I'm a crank about many things, but I have company in my views this time. The Atlantic's own (Guest Blogger division) Don Brown links to our site but to another more splenetic reaction; Paul Bertorelli, the editorial director of AVweb, concurs; and most of the comments on the AVweb site, from pilots and controllers, are in the spirit of this one: "Horrors! Next we'll hear that the First Lady's motorcade had to stop for a red light; like the rest of us."

Why bother to bring it up again? The real reason is that I love this NMA clip. But there's a larger journalistic purpose: If the "mainstream" press gets us all worked up about things we don't need to be worried about, what's left over for cases that pose a genuine threat? Maybe NMA's next project can be "the boy who cried Wolf."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/04/more-on-the-michelle-obama-close-call-that-wasnt/237684/