Friday, September 15, 2006

Still crying in the wilderness

Yesterday's post about J.K. Rowling's "fight" to be allowed to board a plane with her latest Harry Potter manuscript was getting a little unwieldy, what with all those updates, so I'm starting a new one.

From Yahoo! News, Thursday, 10:17 AM ET:

British author J.K. Rowling says she won an argument with airport security officials in New York to carry the manuscript of the final "Harry Potter" book as carryon baggage.

She certainly said nothing about having "won an argument" with airport security officials, but sloppy journalism appears to be the order of the day when it comes to this story, and Yahoo! is simply complying, as is every other news source. But at 6:28 PM ET Thursday night, The Yahoo! article was republished (without any other changes, as far as I can tell) to add the following paragraph:

America's Transportation Security Administration has "never implemented a ban on carryon luggage for flights originating in the United States," TSA spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said. "A manuscript would certainly be allowed to be carried on."

How nice. Somebody finally did a little research on this story by making a simple phone call. No, it's not much, but it's the only attempt anyone has made to verify the truth of J.K. Rowling's "run-in" with airport security personnel.

Please understand that I'm not calling J.K. Rowling a liar. I'm just suggesting that her words were misinterpreted. Is nobody going to ask her what, if anything, actually happened at the airport?

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Audra said...

I wonder what J.K. Rowling thinks about all of this. I can't believe no one was smart enough to check with her and get a factual statement.
Imaginations are running rampant to be sure. It reminds me of tht game where you whisper a sentence to the person next to you and then you see what the sentence has become when it reaches the first person again.

TrudyJ said...

Yeah, I heard "the JK Rowling story" on my local radio station this morning. It's a real classic of misinformation.

Brenda Coulter said...

I'm as familiar as anyone with the constant delays and sometimes apparently pointless security regulations at our airports. I think people are expressing their frustration with all that by latching on to a story that spotlights how inconvenient air travel has become. Never mind that the story may not be true. People don't want to hear that it's not true. It's a wonderful example of what they're so outraged about, so it must be true.

And that's why nobody's going to look very deeply into this. Because if Ms. Rowling didn't scuffle with airport security personnel, then there's no story and no satisfaction for all those frustrated people.

Anonymous said...

Otherwise known as 'publicity stunt' and it's been very successful. You think?

Brenda Coulter said...

Nah. She doesn't have to do anything sneaky to get the media's attention. All she has to do is clear her throat, and they're all over her with microphones and cameras.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Well, you solved this so succinctly that you should become a crime novelist!

Paul said...

Hi Brenda,

It is always a hoot to blog over here to catch up with your postings. Didn't realize that I had not been here in a while.

It is always refreshing to read. I didn't realize that there could be so much news generated over a manuscript :)

Your blog is a must read and your book "A Family Forever" is on my wish list for Christmas gift, when my kids ask.

I will keep coming back!


Brenda Coulter said... should become a crime novelist!

That would sure please my husband, Bonnie. Unfortunately, I'm not clever enough to write that stuff. ;-)

Paul, you are very kind. I love it when guys read my books, so why don't you drop me an e-mail with your address and let me send you a copy? If you enjoy it, you can share it with your buddies.

Ellen said...

Where was she going? (I haven't read the news story so I really don't know) going TO the UK are still a little nuts, I think.

Brenda Coulter said...

She was flying home to London from New York City. But her destination was immaterial because the TSA has never banned carry-on bags from flights originating in the U.S. (no, not even on flights departing for the U.K. during that scary time in August). That's why I originally questioned the story about Ms. Rowling having to "persuade" security officials to bend their rules. It just didn't ring true, and when I went to her website and read her words for myself, I didn't see anything about any argument with security officials.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I dunno. Maybe the supposed TSA officials were afraid that if they didn't get a quick look now, they'd be the ones turning up dead in Book Seven?

Thanks for keeping on this, Brenda. It DOES sorta smell bad.