Jailbird, Away!

Regarding the story Walter mentioned below on a fugitive’s possible liability for a news copter crash, Dave Hughes of the media watchdog site dcrtv.com suggests a different chain of causation than the Phoenix police chief:

While I’m very sorry that the two Phoenix TV copters collided and crashed, killing four, I am very much against TV stations (and cable “news” networks) televising live police chases. There isn’t much news value there and the the very presence of TV coverage of such events encourages people – particularly the drunk and drugged – to break the law and lead the police in high-speed chases thereby endangering countless thousands of responsible drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians. …

I’m reminded of a recent “Simpsons” episode where the Channel 6 news copter follows the Jailbird (aka Snake) on a police chase, which takes an unexpected turn when the fugitive leaves his car, steals a helicopter of his own, and pulls alongside the news copter, where he turns to the camera and offers a succinct traffic report before flying off.


  • To blame this fugitive for the helicopter accident is a bit ridiculous. When I saw this story on the news my jaw hit the floor. I’d be curious to know who made the decision to follow the chase; the reporter; the pilot; or someone back at the studio?


  • I’m reminded of the South Park episode where the announcer reminded the viewers of which company this high speed car chase was brought to you by.

  • I don’t think the news stations care as much about the news value of the chase, as the ability to sell the video to “America’s Greatest Car Chases” and the like.