Fox News host Tucker Carlson unloaded on the Biden Administration and “woke” hiring policies at airlines, asserting that recent safety scares can be blamed on Biden-sanctioned “equity-based” hiring practices. Does he have a point?
Tucker Carlson Says Recent Airline Safety Issues Can Be Blamed On Biden, Push For Equity
Carlson unloaded on Biden and a number of airlines including Southwest Airlines and United Airlines in a segment on his program that stretched over four minutes.
Airlines are dramatically lower hiring standards for pilots in the name of equity. At some point, many people are going to die because of this. pic.twitter.com/1lBMU5D0LG
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 15, 2023
I see my colleagues One Mile At A Time and View From The Wing have already addressed this issue and I think both get it right, though in different ways. Even before seeing their points, multiple readers and a family member sent me this clip so I am going to opine on it too.
Tucker’s central assertion is false:
“Biden imposed the principles of equity on the airlines, and that meant dramatically lowering hiring standards for pilots and air traffic controllers.”
That’s just not true. If you feel Carlson is correct, feel free to back up his statement with proof.
Yes, we have seen diversity preferences at United’s Aviate Academy, but those pilots are not flying yet. Plus, while I hope for a day when we can have a colorblind society, consider becoming a pilot like entering a narrow gate. There are simply not enough seats for everyone and so United has decided to use color or gender as one basis for consideration. Even so, the “standards” are not being lowered. Those aspiring pilots must complete the same rigorous training as anyone else. The moment that is no longer the case, then we have a smoking gun, but there is no evidence to suggest this is the case.
Some may point to Southwest lowering the number of hours required for new hires, but that’s not the case at all. Southwest lowered the number of turbine hours (from 1,000 to 500) in order to be accepted into its program, but the 1,500-hour minimum has not changed. Now, certain Southwest trainees will simply spend longer in training.
We have seen a lot of pilots shift equipment type during and after the pandemic, which is a result of the seniority-based system in the USA (you’re paid more for flying larger aircraft). Aircraft and personnel retirements have led to a lot of changes in that respect, which is a potential safety concern, but that cannot be blamed on the Biden Administration or “wokeness” either.
Then there is the concern over the recent United incident over Maui we covered earlier in the week. Carlson claims to have spoken to an anonymous United pilot, who told him “under its woke CEO Scott Kirby, the airline has allowed politics and racialist ideologies to trump safety concerns.” This source claimed the captain on the distressing Maui flight was “brand new” and the first officer was a “new-hire.”
That may or may not be true – I don’t know. But what we do know that even if both were new on the 777, it wasn’t diversity or Biden Administration policy that brought them to their jobs on that day.
In the end, Carlson seeks to score cheap political points by greatly simplifying a complex issue and also falsely arguing that diversity is to blame for the recent safety issues.
Carlson’s program is religiously followed by many, but you must use discernment in digesting his dialogue. He is right to this extent: there is justifiable concern over what appears to be a degradation of airline safety in the US. But his culprits are not really the culprits. If we can point to one culprit, it is probably the airline musical chairs that have resulted in many pilots flying new planes, but even that is simply a theory.
Somewhere I’ve got a picture of me with Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala back when they did Crossfire on CNN. Carlson seemed much more reasonable in those days. It may be good business to trash Biden at every turn, but when you do that it becomes far more difficult for legitimate criticism to stick.
What do you think about Tucker Carlson and his segment on airline safety?
image: Fox News / Fair Use Exception