Post Truth and Telling Aviation Fish Stories


In the 1800s, when fisherman over-stated catch sizes, a new idiom emerged which we know today as a ‘fish story’—an exaggerated story or an improbable, boastful tale. Under the microscopic scan of the NTSB investigation, it become clear the chief executive of Execuflight was greatly exaggerating the condition of his company’s safety culture—he was telling a safety fish story. It was with further irony then, that a month after the NTSB released its report, the Oxford Dictionary released its word of the year: ‘post-truth’. Post-truth describes circumstances, normally political ones, ‘in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. In at least three truth-distorting ways, the Execuflight 1526 accident demonstrated post-truth seepage into the unforgiving world of aviation safety.

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