Shocking video of a doctor being violently dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight has dominated news coverage for more than 24 hours — but readers recoiled from reporting on the passenger’s past.
David Dao was removed from a flight late Sunday from Chicago to Louisville, and his hometown Courier-Journal newspaper followed up by reporting on his previous legal troubles.
The Elizabethtown pulmonologist was convicted on drug-related offenses in 2004 related to fraudulent prescriptions and an alleged sexual relationship with a patient, and he regained his medical license in 2015 under certain conditions.
Social media users quickly and strongly criticized the newspaper for reporting details of Dao’s past, which many readers found irrelevant to his treatment by the airline and Chicago police.
@courierjournal Your newspaper sucks.
— Yung Trebek (@mo_spade) April 11, 2017
So glad we're now in the point of a viral news cycle where we tar and feather a guy who never in any way asked for publicity.
— Alex Koppelman (@AlexKoppelman) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal Rationalize your state violence for me!
— WitchOfNightForever (@Glennfinito) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal TL;DR Doc once did some shady stuff and so he deserved to get beat and kicked off.
— Not G.G. Liddy (@ThirtyMinuteAbs) April 11, 2017
Hmmm. Sounds like Kentucky took care of this legally and fairly and then years later he was assaulted for no reason. https://t.co/gJsGNXdLMz
— Dan Wilbur (@DanWilbur) April 11, 2017
If you fly United, you may or may not be assaulted and then subjected later to character assassination.
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal Oh look victim blaming 101. Garbage
— Melonhead (@Bpstevens87) April 11, 2017
Soon we'll hear he was no angel and did Purple Drank. https://t.co/CaPLKKEzH2
— Roy Edroso (@edroso) April 11, 2017
— dj finney (@dj_finney) April 11, 2017
— Avi Bueno (@JasperAvi) April 11, 2017
— Janet Hancock (@sfjw) April 11, 2017
Did United pay someone to dig up dirt on Dao? Or did some public-spirited journo do it for free, for 'balance'? Not sure which is worse.
— Leonard Pierce (@leonardpierce) April 11, 2017
Maybe the Courier-Journal can next do an expose on the troubled past of local politician Mitch McConnell.
— Maria Schneider (@marlaschnelder) April 11, 2017
— Susan (@chmodsusan) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal So United bought a newspaper.
— andy tants (@andygtants) April 11, 2017
— SVSalon (@SVSalon) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal This is so irrelevant. That doesn't change the fact the he was dragged out of a seat that he paid for.
— j (@JUSTlNW) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal This is trash.
— /losers/usher/shaun (@ShaunUsher) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal By all means tell us what he was wearing, too. Maybe he was wearing something that gave them the idea he would be willing to be assaulted?
— Al (@Crazy4RedSox) April 11, 2017
@courierjournal You're carrying water for an international corporation who abused a customer on camera. His past has nothing to do with this.
— The Universe (@msgfromuniverse) April 11, 2017
— kris (@kelisab) April 11, 2017