Stirring the Pot: Answering a Question with Many


It’s one of the most asked questions during the last two week – What happened to Malaysia Flight #370?

Depending on what official you ask, what country wants the limelight or what news station you’re tuned into, the answer changes.

Itwas on March 8 that the Beijing-bound Flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 227 passengers and 12 crew members. Shortly after reaching cruising altitude and speed, all communication ceased with control towers. An “All right, good night” from the co-pilot was the last thing anyone heard – or has seen – from the airliner, not to mention anyone who was on board.

For more than 15 days, the story on what happened has gone from the plane crashed over land, to it was intentionally turned and flown in one of two directions, to no one seems to know where it is, to one country after another spotting “floating debris” in the South Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, search planes, nor deployed ships, have been able to find what satellites seem to see.

Through the confusion and changing story lines, the families of those who were on the plane have had the most questions. And from where I stand, that seems to be because they are being kept in the dark.

No airline is prepared for tragedy. No city or country is ready to handle the PR when a plane crashes or has an incident of some kind on their property. But knowing that there is even a remote possibility that something could happen should warrant a game plan.

But alas, pressure to answer the tough questions consumes all else. Then possible explanations are leaked, egos rule and inconsideration takes over.

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.

The above was the message victim family members received Monday afternoon.

Oh yeah … that was sent via text.

I don’t know if I’m more appalled by the fact at how impersonal this latest method of communication was or at the fact that the message said nothing new.

If I remember from my media law class – and all those SVU episodes I’ve watched – reasonable doubt has to be based on something. There is nothing … except a plane took off and shows no record of landing. There are no bodies, still no fuselage (or pieces of it), no answers. Yet Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced Monday the mystery has been solved.

We continue to see devastated family members being carried out of press conferences and others hurling accusations at aviation officials and political leaders.

Yet still no answers … just more questions.

I know everyone wants this nightmare to be over, especially the victims’ families. But if you don’t have the correct answers, don’t say anything.

Like my Mom used to say – when you assume ….

fitzhughMichelle Fitzhugh-Craig is an award-winning, professional journalist who resides in Oakland. If you have an individual, organization, issue or other topic that may be of interest to our readers, contact her at [email protected]. Need more stirring? Visit


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