ATW Editor's Blog

A pitch too far?


I have written in this space about the frenzy of media rumor, speculation and outright ridiculous theories trying to fill the void of factual information on the MH370 tragedy.

Below is an email that turned up in my inbox today from a company PR. I thought I would share it with ATW readers and invite their views. I have deleted all company employee and product names and edited out the details of the product description.

My opinion – and here on my Editor’s Blog, it’s purely that – is that this crosses boundaries. There is still so much to be known, established and understood about this event, beginning with what happened to put the aircraft so far off its planned course, why and how. So why promote a product based on an assumption of what caused this?

It’s interesting to note that this company PR uses the very word speculation on which base to the PR pitch.

So is this merely bad taste, a genuine reach out to provide expert information to the media, or something else?


Dear editor/reporter:

As speculation grows that the fate of Malaysian [sic] Flight 370 could be tied to an onboard fire caused by lithium batteries, I’d like to offer you expertise from global aerospace and defense contractor XXX.

XXX is a supplier of air cargo equipment to the global commercial aviation industry and is used by almost every airline operating wide-bodied aircraft, enabling huge amounts of cargo and baggage to be transported safely and securely.

[Company employee] is considered an expert in this area ...

I would be happy to connect you with one of XXX’s experts.


PR name]

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Mar 26, 2014

Karen, I would agree fully with your view that the pitch is totally opportunistic and, considering the tragic human aspect of the case, in bad taste.

Firstly, the speculation of an on-board fire caused by batteries is just that; speculation and a poor one to boot. If at all the 777 did fly down to the southern Indian Ocean, it must have been in fine fettle to undertake the six-odd hour flight into supposed oblivion. Going by this argument, the fire theory can be firmly rubbished.

Irrespective of all the hows, whys and whens surrounding this case, the human factor and the disappearance of 239 persons in yet unknown circumstances has to remain centrestage.

Rumours, speculation and theories must be swept aside and only factual information should be allowed consideration as the search for MH370 continues unabated.

on Apr 21, 2014

Karen, I also firmly and fully agree that the pitch is in very poor taste considering we are talking about the considerable loss of human life.
In my view if the aircraft proceeded down the southern corridor as "ping" return data tends to suggest, any reports of an on board fire must be dismissed as mischievous speculation. We know from relatively recent freighter accidents, due to the carriage of li-ion batteries, MH370 would never have reached the location in the Indian Ocean where it has supposedly gone down.
As has already been suggested only factual proven data should be considered in the ongoing search for MH370 and the preposterous rumours and speculation should be seen for what they are, just rumours and speculation with little or no substance.

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