Yesterday a fairly well respected mommy blogger began a series of Tweets that went wild with retweets nearly from the second it was posted- TSA allegedly broke it’s own rule about never separating a parent and child, and ripped a baby from the arms of his distraught mother, taking him away from her and out of her sight for a full 10 minutes because of a pacifier clip that went off in the security checkpoint. She posted the very emotional story on her blog, describing in detail all that happened. Mothers were outraged, and everyone sympathized with her fury over this mistreatment as she called for heads to roll. She encouraged people to contact news organizations and TSA on her behalf.
This morning’s light however, showed a different story. A very, VERY different story.
Not to take this sitting down, TSA responded to the firestorm with the security footage of the Atlanta airport that morning. Footage that quite clearly shows that the incident detailed on her Twitter stream and blog never actually occurred.
Yes, she and her son were there. Yes, they were briefly detained and she was searched, but the mysterious phone call she made when the agents weren’t looking, the separation of mother and son..None of it is seen on the camera footage.
Footage which is clearly dated and timestamped, without any more than a second or two’s jump as they show film from the next camera when she moves.
Footage which ends with her clearly walking away with her son after she is searched with no lapse at all in time.
The best explanation she seems capable of offering in her response refers to things that supposedly aren’t shown (bolding for emphasis)-
in the video, it looks as though my son is playing happily in his stroller while i am being searched with a wand. obviously this is the big discrepancy with my story, since he was not in my sight at that time, and one that i too am thoroughly looking into. neither of the two phone calls i placed while seated in security are in the video either. what is shown in the video is incomplete as it leaves out when the security agent took my son to a separate area and out of my sight. this matter is one that is being handled between my family and the TSA.
In short, she seems to be accusing TSA of doctoring the footage. An extremely serious charge.
So what’s the real story? If TSA was covering this up, why? It’s not like they haven’t fucked up and had to apologize for things before. More likely, what motivation would she have for lying?
I have seen it mentioned several times now that some believe that she truly believed this happened, and that her anxiety caused her to hallucinate.
I find it more interesting that this is never the case when other bloggers online have been ousted as frauds. As Paul said in a comment on his post about this today, had this been a man who posted a story like this, he’d have been ripped to shreds by the blogging community, no questions asked. I’ve actually been a bit surprised at the huge number of people who have been quite adamant that this should be swept under the rug and allowed to blow over without comment.
I understand compassion, I understand wanting to protect your own, but I also understand the damage done to the credibility of the blogging community by bullshit publicity stunts like this.
I’m not trying to imply anything, but when you want to be taken seriously, you might not aught to be posting stuff like this on the internet less than 24 hours after the incident…
You wouldn’t want to look like you were…I dunno, trying to make money off something that caused you, in your own words, to have an anxiety attack and horribly traumatized you…
It has dawned on me as I write this that it should be simple enough for Nic to prove at least part of her story is true, if she so choses- posting a picture of her call log would prove the calls she claims are missing from the security footage. I’m raising the suggestion, but I doubt it will be taken up.
I realize that as a mommy-blogger-turned-life-blogger I am a bit out of the loop where most of the women bloggers I know are concerned. I haven’t kept up with the pressing issues of the blogosphere because quite frankly, I’ve been a little busy with real life shit. Planning a conference, getting sued for herpes I don’t have, nearly getting kicked out of my home…Pretty heavy stuff.
Today I read about the Blogger PR Blackout, and I wondered if in my absence the mommybloggers of the world have started drinking. Heavily. On top of their Xanax.
Seriously ladies. What. The. Fuck?
In the three years I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned a good bit about PR. I’ve been offered, and taken, some of the cool products offered in exchange for writing about them on my blog. I’ve turned down at least 20x as many as have been offered, and lately I’m not taking them at all, because quite frankly I’ve got no patience for that kind of thing anymore. I barely find the time and motivation to write, much less write about some dvd that I could give two shits about just because someone offered to give me a free copy.
The thing I’ve taken away from my blogging/PR experiences? Just like writing in general, just like any hobby, you have the choice of how much time to put into it. You decide whether to decide to post daily, or weekly, or twice a damn year if that’s what your schedule allows. And the same goes with these product reviews, contests, and whatever else.
That said, I’m sorely confused by why anyone feels so burned out on doing this sort of thing that they feel a ‘blackout week’ is needed. Who granted these PR companies the power to thrust products and press-releases at these poor bloggers who apparently have trouble with the word “no”?
As far as I can see, any blogger who feels “burned out” on these things is sitting in a shit-pile of their own making, and I have absolutely no sympathy.
Unless you are a pro-blogger (and not many are), the fact is this- blogging is NOT a job. Those free products may stock your cleaning cabinet or snack drawer a little better, but most bloggers are not getting paid for these reviews, yet they seem to like to act like they are. They take themselves and their ‘job’ so seriously you’d almost think they are best buddies with the CEO of whatever company they are shilling for at the moment instead of a blogger giving away their time and effort for little more than a $3 box of yogurts.
And let’s face it, those reviews you so pain-painstakingly labor over? Unless you are giving away a product yourself, no one reads them. Even having previously run a review blog myself, I can honestly say in general, I’d rather have toothpicks rammed under every finger and toenail I have than read about why your little Johnny or Suzie loves pudding pops. It’s boring. as. hell. I may love you and want you to be my new online BFF, but please, for the love of christ do NOT make me read that shit.
My point here? No one is making you do it, so if you feel burned out, just STOP DOING IT. It’s not that hard, and unlike coming off your Zoloft, you don’t even have to ease off it. Just stop. Learn to say no. You know, that word you use so often when your man gives you that come-hither look? Yeah, that word. Or hell, maybe the reason you are telling him no is because you are too busy writing those crappy reviews.
The PR industry is not the problem here, it’s the bloggers who take the products and then bitch about how busy they are because they have to pay the piper for that cool new gadget they got.
And the fact that MomDot is the one calling for this “PR Blackout”? Did I miss the part where they have given up their own ‘special relationship’ with certain companies they work with? Somehow a site that very regularly runs sponsored contests and giveaways suddenly changing their tune and issuing a “PR Blackout week” reads less like concern for others, and more like a publicity stunt. But hey, what do I know?
Overall, I think this is yet another self-induced tempest in a teapot that mommybloggers are getting behind because by their very nature, they are quite prone to
A. Needing a cause to rally behind to give themselves a sense of purpose and
B. Having a hard time saying no. It’s a powerful combination, and one that I’m sure gives Excedrine a fair amount of sales every year.
It certainly gives me a headache reading about it.
In short, cut the crap, and just stop doing the damn reviews. I promise you the world will not come crashing down, and everyone will still think you are just as special, even when you don’t get the joy of saying you are working with this company or that.
And hey, without all the promotional garbage, I just might start reading your blog again.