AP: 'Famed Flight Attendant ... Captured the Nation's Imagination'
Mr. Slater (picture at right is from his Facebook page) is the JetBlue flight attendant who reportedly "grabbed the plane's intercom and made an expletive-laced speech, grabbed a beer from the galley, opened the door and slid down the emergency evacuation chute." Slater was charged with "criminal mischief and reckless endangerment."
Three weeks ago (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Associated Press writer Samantha Gross rhapsodized over how Slater's actions had fulfilled "a working man's fantasy ... rekindled memories of workers' liberation ... (and) sparked wistful excitement among workers who have long fantasized of choosing pride over pay."
Before getting to the AP's latest sympathetic piece, let's take a look at something originally associated with a magazine report about Slater that is not currently present in that story.
In a Google Web search on "Steven Slater" (not in quotes), here is the sixth result returned:
But when you go to the referenced People Magazine article, the statement cited in the result isn't there, nor, as best I can tell, is it in the readers' comments.
Perhaps the statement was never written, but I doubt it, as the Internet has a funny way of leaving tracks. A search on the exact sentence involved ("On his Facebook and MySpace pages, he boasted about flying high and taking a five year break from the skies" -- entered with quotes) returned 15 items (Google's header says it's 130, but it's really 15, before adding "similar items"). Was everyone who noted this, especially this link, which appears to have captured People's RSS feed, just making it up?
With that little nugget as background, here is selected text from an unbylined AP story early this morning reporting that Slater will not be getting his job back (bolds are mine):
Sometimes there's no going back.
JetBlue Airways says that there will be no second exits for famed flight attendant Steven Slater - who captured the nation's imagination with his profanity-laced loudspeaker tirade and jump down a plane's emergency chute, beer in hand.
Spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said Saturday that Slater is no longer employed by the airline. She said the airline won't release further details out of respect for Slater's privacy.
Slater's lawyer had said he loved flying and wanted to return to work, and Slater's folk-hero status among tens of thousands of online fans had led some of them to urge the airline to keep him on.
The airline said at the time of the incident last month that Slater was suspended pending an investigation. It told employees in a memo that press coverage was not taking into account how much harm can be caused by emergency slides, which are deployed with a potentially deadly amount of force.
The former flight attendant still has to navigate the criminal justice system.
Given how sympathetic the wire service has been to his plight, and assuming he avoids jail, I have a perfect suggestion for who should be Slater's next employer. He apparently won't have to worry about whether he has a supportive environment.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.