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  • Writer's pictureDennis Hetzel

The outing of Dr. Dao: A media oxymoron

(From my recent post to the Huffington Post blog network)

Among the best-known bits of the late, great comedian George Carlin were his riffs on oxymorons – two words that perhaps don’t belong together. Among his favorites: military intelligence, genuine imitation, government organization, Microsoft Works and airline food.

Speaking of airlines, we might want to add “passenger rights” to the list following United Airlines’ recent public-relations debacle that provided great material for late-night comics and creators of Facebook memes and video mashups.

My personal favorite came from Jimmy Kimmel, which is linked here.

Kidding aside, I’m troubled by one aspect of this crazy story. As a newspaper editor, I used to start some talks with this joke: “An editor is someone who strolls onto the battlefield after the fighting stops and shoots the wounded.” That would get some laughs. Then I’d add, “I’m here to explain that, believe it or not, ‘media ethics’ isn’t an oxymoron.”

Media accounts of the United Airlines incident involving Kentucky physician David Dao test that proposition. Several media outlets quickly reported a matter of public record: That the Commonwealth of Kentucky had suspended Dao’s medical license over his prescribing practices.

However, this tidbit appears to have zero to do with what happened on the airplane. That didn’t stop such stories from gaining rapid traction. piled on with a report about Dao’s subsequent success as a pro poker player. A quick Google search will show just how low some outlets stooped.

To read more, go the Huff Post:

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