November 11, 2009
January 15, 2004
Andrew Heyward President, CBS News 524 W 57th St. New York, NY 10019
Dear Mr. Heyward:
On behalf of more than 400,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest aviation organization, I am writing you to express our utter shock and dismay regarding the story about general aviation that ran on your evening news on January 14, 2004. It is disgraceful that "the news organization of Edward R. Murrow" would produce - and aggressively promote in a tabloid headline form - a segment on the prestigious CBS Evening News that was so obviously slanted, incomplete, factually erroneous and salaciously inflammatory.
Your irresponsible reporting techniques included:
On the basis of the voluminous emails and calls we have received today I can confirm that your reporter, Bob Orr, has badly tarnished his reputation in the aviation community. Had he - or anyone - from CBS simply called we could have provided the information that the story was completely lacking. For example:
Since 9/11 we are all living in a world marked by a heightened state of fear. Many organizations and members like ours have worked hard to address opportunities to keep those events from being repeated. By planting deep seeds of fear that are totally without merit, your report did a major disservice not only to our members, but to the general public as well. We are outraged and you should be ashamed.
At AOPA we will continue to work on behalf of our members. We hope at CBS you will work half as hard to inform your viewers of the facts and leave sensational journalism in the grocery store racks where it belongs. In the interim, we stand ready to provide you with the facts that your report completely ignored.
Phil Boyer President
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.