Saturday, November 19, 2011

TSA's Propaganda Machine


A recent Bloomberg article on TSA claims that complaints are down and demonstrate that TSA is moving in the right direction. It is disgraceful that an otherwise respectable publication would publish such blatant propaganda to aid TSA in their effort to convince travelers that most people like being sexually assaulted by strangers in an airport.

In fact complaints are up. Recent data published at WSJ and recounted in an Atlanta Journal refutes these claims entirely.


According to an article in WSJ on 9/1/11, “Complaints about TSA screening filed with the agency jumped 40% this year through June, compared with the first six months of 2010. In the month of June alone, TSA logged 1,975 screening complaints, more than double the 814 received in June 2010.”


Unfortunately, WSJ did the math wrong; a rise from 814 to 1,975 is a 242% increase!


This doesn't include complaints made to ACLU, EPIC, USTA and other organizations, which totaled in excess of 4,000 complaints as of June, nor account for those who didn’t file complaints for a myriad of reasons.


Further, TSA often trashes complaints filed at the checkpoint, claim to be out of cards or intimidate passengers who request a complaint form reducing the official count on the numbers of actual complaints. No one is fooled by the statistics. No matter how many times TSA claims that people support them, the number of complaints from passengers and members of Congress recounted in media reports indicate that this agency has serious problems.


A survey by USTA published on 11/16/11 concluded; “However, frequent air travelers are less satisfied with TSA’s overall performance than non-frequent air travelers, with:


• Only 54.6 percent of frequent air travelers somewhat/very satisfied (compared to 67.8 percent of non-frequent air travelers); and


• 28 percent of frequent air travelers somewhat/very dissatisfied (compared to 10.4 percent of non-frequent air travelers).


Even these numbers indicate that among the airline industry’s most important clients and who provide the vast majority of airline revenue, nearly one third resent TSA security and less than half are “very satisfied” with TSA’s performance.


Fortunately, a Forbes editorial on Friday provided the perfect antidote for the Bloomberg propaganda statement. That article provided a more comprehensive synopsis of the current state of TSA and its abuse of passengers and wasteful bureaucracy. It offered a more sensible recommendation: “Let’s give ourselves a present on the TSA’s tenth birthday: let’s demand Congress do more than merely wring its hands over this horrific boondoggle. Abolish the TSA.”


Media outlets that pander to TSA officials do their readers a great disservice. They violate their public trust and undermine their credibility by supporting propaganda that is in direct opposition to the opinion and benefit of their public.