When the Story's the Story

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants us to know that in addition to the pornographers, drug dealers, and all-around goons among its personnel, there are some decent folks, too.

Alas, such decency is so scarce at the TSA that both a Boston newspaper and TV channel carried the story. Nor did they blush at so obviously toting Leviathan’s water.

Last week, WCBV-TV 5 reported that "an 89-year-old man was slumped over in his wheelchair sitting in a passageway in Terminal B" at Logan International Airport. Apparently, security lines now stretch so interminably that folks die in them. Or would, but for our two heroes: screener Dave Lynch, who, for unknown reasons, decided to spend his retirement from the Swampscott Fire Department feeling up the flying public, and his fellow groper, Rob Lomanno. Grabbing a defibrillator, they ran to the gentleman’s assistance. Things thereafter proceeded as we might expect, with the patient revived and an ambulance called and paramedics taking over.

This is hardly noteworthy, unless you’re the elderly victim or his kin. After all, CPR has become a fairly common procedure, with most of its survivors winding up in the hospital, not on the news. So why was this incident reported not only in the Boston Globe but on Channel 5? Because, as the latter unabashedly tells us, Lynch and Lomanno are "hoping Friday’s heroics could help passengers look at TSA screeners, who don’t often get smiles, in a new light."

Oh, the poor babies! Imagine: screeners leech off our taxes while "bellowing out terse commands to passengers, ordering them to take off their shoes, show their boarding passes, and put their bags through the X-ray machines" — and we ungrateful serfs don’t even smile at them.

Indeed, my fellow vassals will no doubt be as astounded as I to learn that "customer service" is part of the TSA’s mission. According to Lomanno, "The two reasons why we’re here at TSA is for security and customer service, and hopefully today showed some customer service.” Whoa! Talk about hiding your light under a bushel — actually, extinguishing it entirely. Who knew?

Well, George Naccara, for one. He’s the Federal Security Director at Logan, and he poured it on thick and deep for Boston’s television viewers: “Quite frankly, I’m not surprised because all of them have very much a community spirit. Many of them have tremendous skills from their prior careers before they came to TSA.”

Hmmm. One wonders exactly what skills are needed to intimidate grandparents in wheelchairs, molest and upset expectant mothers until their babies are injured, or make little kids cry. And what "prior careers" teach these brutalities? Prison-camp guard?

One also wonders why the Globe and Channel 5 agreed to run such blatant propaganda. Neither makes any attempt to dilute the syrupy ooze with mention of the theft of passengers’ jewelry at Logan, the profitable little scam the airport runs with the loot from its pettier larceny, or the 20-minute waits at checkpoints precisely when most people most need to reach their flights. Indeed, both reports read like press releases straight from the TSA, though a search of the agency’s website turned up no matching blurbs — yet.

“So maybe today people realize why we’re here — not only for security but we are here to help them,” Lomanno rhapsodized in a final plug on Channel 5.

That giant sucking sound is the mainstream media’s planting a big one right on Leviathan’s hindquarters.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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