Friday, October 19, 2007

Institutional Bias

Headlines are powerful. They should highlight the most important fact of the article. So, I see this headline from an article, "75% Fake Bombs Missed By Screeners." I go to the article intending to do a funny post slamming the TSA by adding a tag to the end of the headline saying..."but 100% of shampoos and deodorants over 3oz and not in a clear plastic bag confiscated!" Now you have to admit that is funny =)

However, after reading the article something else stood out to me that should have been the headline in order for it to be more accurate. Here is what the headline should have been, "75% Fake Bombs Missed by Government Screeners" or "Private Screeners Outperform Government Screeners." If you read the article you will see they reported on three airports, LAX, O'Hare, and San Fran Intl. The TSA ran 70 tests at LAX, 75 at O'Hare, and 145 at SFI. LAX failed 75% of the time, O'Hare failed 60%, and SFI only failed 20%.

Now to me the whole point of the article should have been why the huge difference between SFI and the other two. You can find the answer in the article if you don't blink because it is only said really quickly, SFI is run by private screeners and not the government employed TSA screeners. Isn't that a ringing endorsement that maybe airports should switch to private screeners? But see hence the title of this post. That would mean admitting that a government run entity is less efficient than a private run one (can anyone say USPS vs. UPS) and that kind of thinking is just not allowed in the MSM.

So, here is my advice to the TSA. First, spend less time worrying about my shampoo size and more time on your actual job of finding bombs. And second, let's let the professionals take over the job to make us all much safer.

Side question...why did the TSA do double the test at SFI? I'm sure it had nothing to do with them trying to pad their own numbers at TSA run airports by hoping to make the private screeners look twice as bad...nah...they wouldn't do that now would they...too bad it back fired on them!

1 comment:

Mike's America said...

No doubt the contract for private screening has a provision whereby the contract can be terminated for failure to meet benchmarks for performance.

Of course there is no such provision when screeners are government employees. And Democrats tried to make accountability even MORE difficult by insisting all these govt. screeners be unionized.

But you just try and privatize the entire screening process. Democrats will fight it every step of the way... and they'll say they are doing so to improve security.

P.S. The govt screeners in Savannah did a bang up job of taking my half-filled tube of toothpaste last month.

I feel safer, even if I get cavities.