When Do You Sit On Information That Comes To Light In a National Story?

David Dao was “voluntold” to get off a United Airlines plane in order to make room for airline employees.

He said no.

The airline said yes, and used the police to get him off  the plane, in a very bad way “optics-wise.”

It became a national story and United Airlines is getting crucified.

Now the Courier-Journal in Kentucky is getting crucified.


They did what many journalists do when a story has legs. They asked, “who is this guy that was dragged off the plane?”

The motivation is not necessarily agenda driven in either direction. It’s just part of human interest. We are, for the most part, inquisitive creatures.

What happens when the information they gather is “not flattering”? Should they bury it?

Based on the Twitter outrage one might say they should have whistled while looking the other way.

The Twitterati are saying that the Courier-Journal is participating in victim blaming, a smear campaign and doxxing, and that past indiscretions have nothing at all to do with what United Airlines did.

“They had no idea who Dao was when they dragged him off the plane, you bastards, nor does it matter at all! This could have been you!!!!” is a typical tweet.

“Delete your account” (such a played out and lemming response) is another typical offering.

But, in this day and age, when GoFundMe drives spring up around people like David Dao, maybe people should know who he is before they push the Paypal button.

Is that a valid reason to report on the guy who is at the center of the United Airlines controversy?

Maybe it is.

Maybe it isn’t.

Is the story more about going after the corporation, irrespective of the players involved?

Or is about the player, David Dao?

It’s both, and if the public is about to do what they normally do, make Dao a folk hero because he’s a victim of heartless big business, maybe they should know who that pawn is.

In the spirit of remaining neutral, and to not get crucified (lol), if you’re interested in the Dao story, search David Dao/Courier Journal in your favorite search engine.




44 Comments on When Do You Sit On Information That Comes To Light In a National Story?

  1. Don’t care what he did, he is out of jail and free to travel.
    He would have been afforded better treatment on Con-Air.

  2. Well? Who is this guy? Is there some reason why he SHOULD have been dragged off? I can’t get any information

  3. I think United could have chartered a plane to ferry their four employees where they wanted them to go for far less than this shit is going to cost them in lawsuits and loss of air traveler revenue.

  4. While on the one hand it doesn’t matter who he is. But, as I mentioned to MJA yesterday in a convo, the fact that he started screaming like the kid in “Sophie’s Choice” who got taken to the gas chamber seemed a wee bit over the top to me. Almost like he was hoping to create this miasma in order to sue.

    That doesn’t absolve United for the shitty way they handled this affair. Nor, truthfully, does it absolve the lookie-loos surrounding him who were content to watch this scene unfold like it was the in-flight movie while they filmed it on their cell phones.

    It isn’t journalistic malpractice to report on who this man is. And, you’re right, Fur. The knee-jerk way people will donate to any Go-Fund-Me account set up for the victim du jour makes it worth knowing whom you would be donating to. And why donate to him at all? He’s going to get a hefty settlement from the airline and won’t be needing the money.

    Perhaps, instead, a Go-Fund-Me site can be set up to give his fellow passengers lessons in how to behave like a decent human being instead of a voyeuristic social media whore.

    Sorry. My issue.


  5. I have reserved judgement too.
    Far too little known about the whole story.
    I heard that he somehow ran back on to the plane?

    If he get compensated, it shouldn’t be a windfall lottery.
    He doesn’t deserve to get rich after the crap that went down 9/11, you don’t fuck around on an aircraft.

  6. The man was charged with using his medical license to fraudulently obtain drugs with the aid of a former employee/patient with whom he also had sexual relations. His license was taken away, but he was still allowed to practice under special conditions.
    OK, he has a past, but that still doesn’t excuse United for doing what they did.
    I agree with Doc, and you can’t convince me that there wasn’t a better way for United to handle the situation.

  7. He’s a closet gay, not that there is anything wrong with that!
    Traded drugs for sex, hell, they would have a field day on a congressional junket, if that were cause.

  8. OK I’m going to side with AND be against everyone. LOL. Here’s why:
    United, as well as other airlines, has this thing where if they ask you to leave the plane, or doesn’t allow you to board the plane, compensation or not, you gotta go. It’s not hidden, it’s in your documents when you buy online or at an agency or at the airline ticket counter itself. Did the airline look bad in this? Well, yeah, they took a guy off a plane who didn’t want to leave. But on the other hand, the passenger acted like he was getting thrown in a camp. Come on, really? After they offered him money and free lodging? The airline could have just stopped and gone with a different passenger, but since this one started acting a fool, now they have to take him off the plane. lol.
    Re: the news sites posting about his past/present. Well… he made a lot of noise and the media was trying to help him out by making him the poor victim and so they discovered something bad about him.
    You know what would have prevented him from getting outed? If he’d had gotten his silly ass up and left with the cash and the free hotel.
    You know what would have prevented United from getting trashed? They should have paid attention to their ticket sales and availability.
    You know how the media who reported about his past could have avoided the entire mess?
    They couldn’t have because it’s their job.

  9. Let’s be clear, United screwed up because they acted out of proportion to the less than urgent need to get employees onto the plane.
    That’s why it’s tough for us to watch what they were willing to do to a paying customer.

    Had they dragged the person yelling at Ivanka off the plane, bloodied, we’d applaud it.
    If some guy in a MAGA hat was dragged off for not putting away his cell phone, bloodied, the left would applaud it.
    Alec Baldwin won’t put away his cell phone and the left says the airline is evil.
    We know how the game is played.
    We frame what we will tolerate and won’t tolerate through our own biases.

    So, that brings us to Dao.
    Does it matter who he is for us to properly frame what United did?
    UA acted out of proportion because their need for removal of the passenger was trivial compared to the treatment he received.

    But I don’t post this to mitigate UA.
    It’s really a piece about a larger picture.
    What information is pertinent to a story, and why?

    The fad of GoFundMe, in my opinion, opens the door to wanting to know who the players are in a story, lest they become huge heroes and turn out to be scumbags.

    I thought it was a worthy discussion, and that’s my job.

  10. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT go to the Courier Journal. Never got to read the story thanks to incessant pop ups. Got rid of the pop ups and it went back to the home page. Clicked on the article and the pop ups started again. After that I just smashed my head on my desk a few times to relieve the pain.

  11. their plane, their rules.
    if employee asks you to leave plane, do it.
    if you sneak back on plane, you will be removed by any means.

    the fact that he is a convicted felon who traded gay sex for drug scrips is a postscript in lifetime movie.

  12. Why all the choruses of “that still doesn’t excuse United for what they did”?


    You do realize that not every fight has a good guy in it, right? In fact, very few fights have a good guy.

    If you damned kids had been forced to live through the Rodney King affair, you’d know this. The media turned him into “Saint Rodney.” I don’t ever want to go through that crap again.

    When someone’s an asshole, I want to know about it.

  13. Regardless of who wouldn’t get off said plane, United personnel should have a KNOWN policy, reiterated by the cabin crew, if your numbers called and you refuse to leave the plane, it’s not going anywhere, for anybody. At that point, someone will volunteer. Give ’em extra comp for doing so. It’s perfectly fine for any/everyone to play the lottery, but if you get picked, admit defeat, and accept the result.
    Either that, or threaten everyone else with *enhanced* TSA screening when they arrive at their destination. 😉

  14. What did he think was going to happen when they told him to leave? Did he really think by the time the police were on scene that anything other than him leaving was going to happen? Right, wrong, it doesn’t matter at that point. He was getting off that plane one way or another. Making a scene accomplished absolutely zero.

  15. I think this was way blown out of proportion and that the unruly passenger is a fault, not United. They had to get him out of the plane, plain and simple. It would have set an unacceptable precedent otherwise.

    It’s our snowflake/lawless culture that perceives this as United’s fault.

  16. The rules were set long before this day so everyone knew the rules. It’s only unfair if you played the game without being allowed to read the rules. If you don’t like the rules then don’t fly, drive. He acted like a whiney little bitch when the rules were applied to him. So now someone can nullify the rules by throwing a tantrum? If I don’t like being groped by TSA (it’s in the rules) can I have a hissy fit and get out of it? They should have tazed his ass.

  17. BLM and the media have been telling the sheep in this country for the last 3 years that you do not have to follow the orders of an officer of the law.

    United screwed up, but I or most rational people would have left the plane.

    And yes I want to know peoples past, good or bad

  18. I’m struck by the latest developments in a different way. Within hours, we know all about this guys personal life. I call it the “joe the plumber” treatment. You recall, the private citizen who dared challenge Obama about redistribution of wealth – within hours – had his whole personal life exposed: work history, tax liens, lapsing of plumber’s license, marriage situation, cock size, stool sample, etc. It still fascinates me that the media can know and report such details about a person’s history within a few hours, but couldn’t when it came to Obama. Even after 8 years.

    I know, I need to move on.

  19. Is it too much to ask for a little dignity?
    If the Airline tells you that you gotta go, and sends in the Storm Troops, you can bet your ass you’re gonna go.
    So, have a bit of dignity. Don’t be dragged off like a screaming brat – walk like a man and sue the fuck out of them – or blow up one of their planes – or something – or nothing.
    But why do we all revert to childishness when we don’t get our way?

    izlamo delenda est …

  20. Airline needed a well-rested flight crew to travel.
    Airline tried to bribe people to leave.
    No one left.
    Airline randomly selected people to leave.
    Dao snuck back on the plane.
    Dao got belligerent when caught.
    Dao was dragged off the plane.

  21. What I’ve always enjoyed about iOTW is the willingness to invite honest debate. It is one of the things — in addition to the clever agitprop — that brought me here eight years ago. And it one of the things that keeps me coming back.

  22. Speaking from my own experience. I use to fly a couple time a month for business. There were many times I was in Tuscon one day for a meeting and had other meetings set up the next day. Not being able to make that next days meeting would have potentially cost me a lot of money. So regardless of the fine print there’s services that are expected. In the long run it will cost United a lot more money than if they had charted a flight for that flight crew. ANd whether this guy was a dirt bag or not is immaterial.

  23. It would have been sooooo messed up if mid flight the pilot had to ask over the intercom “Is there a Dr.on board?:

  24. There will be some sort of an out of court settlement in which the airline will not admit fault. United Airlines planes will continue to be sold out in the future and the policy they follow concerning incidents like this will still exist in the fine print and will still pass court muster!!

  25. The Washington Post is running a story that’s ginning up the racist angle. They fail though to mention that this man’s name was selected at random by a program they use when this occurs. Since Jeff Bezos took over the Post has (hard to believe) even more left. Bezos himself is starting to look like a junior Soros in the making but with a lot more money. Remember this when shopping at Amazon.

  26. well if Dao got back on and 20 minutes later the plane blows up in mid-air somewhere will you all still feel sorry that he got dragged off in the first place? Safety first even if you have to pay some $$$ later.

  27. It looked real bad for United but now that Dao has been exposed as an ex-felon,in hindsight, they showed remarkable restraint. Everyone should book with United so show support for the police. After all, this is America: Always obey Authority, or expect to be beaten and then publically humiliated in the blogosohere. Serves him right, I say.

  28. United needed to clear seats to get 4 employees from Chicago, IL to Louisville, KY.

    That’s about a 4 hour drive. 5 if you drive like a yankee.

    They could have put these four employees in a rental car, and had them drive, arriving in plenty of time, and for under $200. Instead they took a giant shit in their own corn flakes.

  29. If I recall correctly, the airlines used to treat these situations like a reverse auction, increasing the payout each time they announce the need for a passenger to volunteer. The mood changes from “this situation sucks” to “I’m gonna take it once they get to XXXXXXX”. Somebody always accepts because everyone has a price.

  30. The last 4 to check in don’t get on and are compensated. Is there no one left with any common sense??

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