'Today' Ignores Necessity of Airline Merger
Sometimes the media lose sight of the fact that businesses exist to make money and have to protect the bottom line.
Minneapolis-based Northwest Airlines (NYSE:NWA), is negotiating a merger deal with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), which could be a win-win situation for both companies. But NBCâ€™s â€śTodayâ€ť didnâ€™t look at it from that standpoint. Instead, the February 15 segment focused on how a merger could negatively affect consumers and employees, while ignoring the possibility that the survival of both airlines may hinge on this merger.
â€śBut airline mergers have traditionally meant job losses, especially in the airlinesâ€™ hub cities, as well as fewer flight options for passengers in smaller cities and higher ticket prices,â€ť NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. â€śIn
â€śTodayâ€ť interviewed a traveler in
Both Delta and Northwest filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005. Delta emerged from bankruptcy in April 2007 and Northwest a month later. Higher jet fuel costs and excess capacity have plagued the airlines over the past decade. A merger could help offset some of these concerns.
The segment didnâ€™t include a spokesman from either airline, but instead interviewed a Democratic politician who is opposed to the merger.
â€śCompetition is what is keeping prices reasonable today,â€ť Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) said. â€śIf you eliminate competition, the fewer airlines you have the fewer choices people have.â€ť
Neither â€śTodayâ€ť nor the congressman mentioned the impact of one of the airlines going completely out of business if a merger is blocked. Liquidation was narrowly avoided by Northwest after it filed for bankruptcy in 2005 according to USA Todayâ€™s â€śToday in the Skyâ€ť airline blog.
â€śTodayâ€ť only included one supporter of the proposed merger who thought it could be a â€śperfect marriageâ€ť according to Tom Costello. But the NBC correspondent undermined airline travel consultant Terry Tripplerâ€™s remarks with the rest of his report.
In August 2007, NBCâ€™s Costello attacked American Airlines (NYSE:AMR) for its on-time record and held it up to Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) on-time record because the two airlines share hub cities, even though they operate with two completely different business models.