Falling at 600 Feet Per Minute

While listening to national news last week, I heard a disturbing report about two airplanes narrowly avoiding a collision over the Pacific Ocean by one of those planes diving 600 feet in 60 seconds. The report went on to discuss passengers feeling weightless, people screaming, etc. The source of the report apparently was a blog written earlier entitled “Two Weeks Ago, I Almost Died in the Deadliest Plane Crash Ever”.

This story was repeatedly carried on many national news outlets. When I heard it, it did not sound right to me; 600 feet just didn’t seem like a lot to descend in 60 seconds. But then again, the news media reported it so it must be right!

The reason why I’m bringing this up is just to point out that what the news media reports should not necessarily be taking as a gospel. There has since been a lot of commentary on the fact that a plane going down 600 feet in 60 seconds is not significant, and indeed probably every one of us has been on a plane descending at a greater rate of speed than that. Before writing this blog I went to the CNN website; the story was still there, reported both as a video and hardcopy with no corrections. However, there were almost 2,000 comments, most of them taking CNN to task for such a blatant mistake, and not checking the facts.

I’m only bringing this to your attention because so often in our work people are made nervous by the financial press. Whether it be the financial press or the general news media, it is just sad how often in this day and age that reports are made without appropriate fact checking.

Thus, when you read the headlines and/or watch the news be sure to keep an open mind because the written word is often incorrect.

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