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Last Wednesday we placed an ad in USA Today. Its headline said it all: That one pilot made some really bad decisions. And those actions must not reflect on the hundreds of thousands of others who fly by the rules.
Why did we do it? We - like you, no doubt - were fed up with the litany of bad reporting that was going on out there. Many members of the media, once again, got the story out ahead of the facts. (After all, it's "sweeps month," that period that sets advertising rates; so every TV station in the country is ravenous for ratings.)
We placed the ad in Roll Call and USA Today. Roll Call is the premier paper on Capitol Hill, which really helped get our message out to the legislators and their staffs. The media read it, too.
We placed it in USA Today because it's a national paper and it allowed us to have the maximum impact for the least cost. We looked into other major papers - The Washington Post, New York Times, and Boston Globe, as well as papers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, and so on. With only a few exceptions, USA Today was less expensive than any ONE of those papers. So if we had run it in any one paper, we would have had a hard time explaining to everyone else in the country why their local paper was not selected. To run it in many papers would not have been a good use of association funds.
As many of you have noted in e-mail messages to us, USA Today has a history of not being friendly to GA. Call it a case of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, we hoped that they would read their own paper and take a lesson.
We are getting a terrific response to the ad. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey placed a call to AOPA President Phil Boyer to praise the piece. Many other government agencies also have given it an affirmative nod. And on the basis of your e-mails, we hit the right message.
We urge you to share the ad with anyone you feel would benefit from a dose of reality.
May 21, 2005