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April 11, 2017

United CEO: "I'm Sorry"
But, Meanwhile, Newspaper Runs Story Dredging Up Dragged Passenger's Past

When you say "I'm sorry" and "no one should be mistreated this way," I think you've decided that the settlement is inevitable, and will cost less than the bad PR.

Update: United's public stock "plunges" in wake of passenger being dragged off plane.

Meanwhile, the Courier-Journal got a hold of the dragged-off passenger's name and discovered a "troubled past."

Dao was trying to regain his medical license when he worked at the practice from August 2015 to August 2016, Nadeau said. Dao had surrendered his medical license in February 2005 after being convicted of drug-related offenses, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure last June. Broadcast and print coverage of Dao's arrest, conviction and sentencing made his name familiar to Kentuckians.


Dao, who went to medical school in Vietnam in the 1970s before moving to the U.S., has worked as a pulmonologist in Elizabethtown but was arrested in 2003 and eventually convicted of drug-related offenses after an undercover investigation, according to the documents filed with the state board of medical licensure.

The licensure board documents allege that he was involved in fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances and was sexually involved with a patient who used to work for his practice and assisted police in building a case against him.

Dao was convicted of multiple felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit in November 2004 and was placed on five years of supervised probation in January 2005, according to the documents. He surrendered his medical license the next month.

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure permitted Dao to resume practicing medicine in 2015 under certain conditions.

Twitter is greeting this story as Twitter usually does -- with outrage -- but I'm not certain that's warranted.

If you were a reporter tracking a viral story, and you came across this -- would you not run it?

It's not really relevant to the story that went viral. Not really. On the other hand, this is what you typically do when there's a hot story. You do spin-off stories. You go into backgrounds of the players and even the supporting casts.

I don't know. I am sensitive to the idea that this is just a private citizen who's been dragged (somewhat literally) into the public spotlight against his will. But that did happen, and no one can change that now, and this is now news.

And apparently this guy was in fact convicted of felonies in his past.

I don't know -- doesn't seem fair that someone should be struck by lightning so many times in a short period (first, being picked as one of the people to be ejected from the plane under protest, then to have the national spotlight on you, with attendant negative coverage).

Plus, yesterday being a slow news day (strangely enough) meant that this story, which would have been a story on any day, became the easy-content story of the day.

But I'm not sure this is the media's "fault," really -- it was the public's collective (viral) reaction to the video that made this a story. The media is just doing what it does, now doing follow-up to get some clicks and sell some ad-space.

Not the greatest thing in the world, but that is how the world works.

It all seems unfair, but it seems like circumstances have conspired to make some unfairness here, rather than the media.

I can't blame it on the media, when I and 98% of the internet-using public seized on this story yesterday. Few wanted the guy being dragged off the plane to be dragged through the mud, but when you make something a story, you get spin-off stories. The latter is kind of an unavoidable consequence of the former.

It does seem to me this new story, while not exactly what I wanted to read about the victim here, is in fact news. (Or at least what passes for "news" in the current clickbait age.)

I guess we'll now get spin-off stories about the reporter of this story.

The newspaper, by the way, is now trying to get Dao's own comment:

This may seem to be putting the horse behind the cart but the first article said that the Daos were avoiding comment on anything so I imagine the reporter did try to get comment ahead of publication.

I'm genuinely conflicted here -- if we say "The media shouldn't have run this story," aren't we saying that because the media should have known who the Sympathetic Victim was here, and protected that Sympathetic Villain?

And doesn't the media usually employ that technique to sanitize stories that hurt the Democrat coalition?

And don't we normally take a "let the chips fall where they may" position when it comes to the media deciding who the Sympathetic Victims Who Need Media protection are?

I don't know -- what's your take?

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