I don’t have a TV at home, but several of you have shared this clip with me, so let’s explore Tucker Carlson’s extended attack against United Airlines on his Fox News program last night.
Tucker Carlson Attacks New United Airlines Pilot Program
On Tuesday, United Airlines announced it would train 5,000 new pilots at its training academy and would give preference for half of those slots to people of color and non-white minorities.
Carlson led off his program with an extended segment on this topic, declaring, “Safety is no longer that airline’s concern – identity politics is.” That’s quite a charge. He also added that United executives are “ideologues, suffering from an incurable brain disease called wokeness.”
United CEO Scott Kirby has talked about “structural inequality” and a “lack of access” at the heart of United’s new initiative to hire minority and female pilots.
There’s an argument to be made for and against overt racial preferences, even if it such actions are directed at remedying decades of inequality. Indeed, there should be something very unsettling about why we are at this point now.
But the idea that United will put unsafe pilots in the sky is simply absurd.
Even putting aside the race-baiting dog whistles of ideologues, the issue is how to choose a narrow field of candidates among a huge applicant pool.
Traditionally, the U.S. military has served as a conduit for sending trained pilots into commercial roles. That will continue and United makes no promises of diversity in that applicant pool.
But as the military places increased focus on drones and other advanced technology, starting a flight school as a separate resource for future pilots makes sense. German airline Lufthansa has done this for decades.
And if there are thousands of qualified applicants, all of whom will be starting from scratch, is there not some good in trying to address that the traditional high cost of training has disproportionately kept certain segments of our society out of flight school?
But these candidates will go through rigorous classroom and flight deck training. They will log hundreds of hours before joining a regional airline and logging thousands of hours before even being considered to fly United Mainline. No corners will be cut.
So will these be “unsafe” and “unqualified” pilots? Absolutely not. And to insinuate otherwise is ignorant.
United Airlines is embarking upon an affirmative action program when it comes to choosing students for its new flight school. Some, like Tucker Carlson, take issue with this. While conversation on racial preferences is reasonable and necessary, the idea that these future pilots will be inferior and unsafe is misleading and absurd.