AOPA President Phil Boyer sent a strongly worded letter to Fox Broadcasting Company CEO Roger Ailes on Monday, denouncing a story that ran on Ailes's Fox News Channel last week. In the letter, Boyer said, "Your staff misrepresented themselves and the facts to obtain a sensationalistic story that unfairly alarmed a trusting public." Fox responded almost immediately and stood by their story.
In the televised story, reporter Douglas Kennedy claimed he and his crew rented a pilot and plane from a flight school and were able to loiter over the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in New York for 20 minutes without anyone raising an alarm.
But the flight school says they were approached by Fox News to do a story on ground escape routes from the plant. The pilot contacted New York Center prior to the flight, received permission from the manager on duty, was assigned a discrete transponder code, and during the flight, remained above 2,000 feet agl and in contact with air traffic control at all times.
In his letter, AOPA President Boyer chided Ailes for allowing such a story to air. "Our members had expected better from Fox News, and frankly, you and I know well these facts spell poor journalism."