Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 9, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

LIES, DAMN LIES, AND HYPERLINKS....David Frum, commenting on the CAPPS II airline screening program, writes the following under the unintentionally ironic headline "Get Serious":

Shock, horror: The airlines are set to begin searching passengers - not randomly - but according to the degree of risk their behavior suggests they present. The system is race-neutral and will greatly accelerate the speed with which law-abiding passengers will pass inspection. It makes use of information that passengers freely provide to the airlines (ie, the decision to pay for tickets with cash rather than credit cards) and links it to obviously relevant law-enforcement data (like whether there is an outstanding arrest warrant for the traveler). It is hard to see how anybody could object to this plan but the ACLU predictably does.

To which I reply, "Get real, David."

CAPPS II doesn't link only to "obviously relevant" law enforcement databases, it also links to commercial databases. More importantly, though, the Washington Post story that Frum links to clearly states that the new program doesn't involve merely "searching passengers," it involves prohibiting a fairly large class of passengers from flying at all. So how does Frum think he can get away with not mentioning this since he links to the original story in his piece?

Simple: he links only to the second page of the Post story, apparently hoping his trusting readers won't notice and go back to the first half, which gives you the bad news about the poor schlubs who are coded red and flatly forbidden to board the plane no matter how thoroughly they're searched.

It kinda reminds me of Ann Coulter's footnotes....

Kevin Drum 4:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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