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AOPA to "USA Today": "Good story. Misleading headline."AOPA to "USA Today": "Good story. Misleading headline."

AOPA to USA Today: "Good story. Misleading headline."

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USA Today cover story, Nov. 7, 2006

The lead article in Tuesday's USA Today is actually a good-news story for and about general aviation - if you can get past the sensationalistic headline.

"NYC plane crash was all too typical," states the headline. But the story soon gets to the facts - friendly facts: "The numbers of private plane crashes and resulting deaths have fallen dramatically since the 1980s." And then it gets even better: "After staying flat for several years, fatal crashes and deaths are poised to set record lows this year."

"That disconnect between the headline and the story is something that is sadly all too typical," said Jeff Myers, AOPA's executive vice president of communications. "A reporter will work hard to do a fair and accurate story. Then, in a shameless effort to boost circulation or viewership numbers, the newspaper's headline writer or the television station's promotion department sensationalizes - and, as in this case, often mischaracterizes - one small portion of the story."

In this case, reporters Alan Levin and Brad Heath (with whom AOPA's media relations department worked closely) made it clear that accidents happen - even to careful pilots - and that safety is improving continually. But, consistent with their long-running anti-GA stance, the newspaper ignored the reporters' overall findings and opted to cast GA in a negative light.

November 7, 2006

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