Daily Show: When a plane blows up it's the market self-regulating
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday April 9, 2008

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Jon Stewart began the opening segment of Tuesday's Daily Show by noting a series of stories about failures in airline safety, including problems with landing gear, wiring, cracks in the fuselage, fire suppression systems, windshield failures, and substandard bolts.

"Many of our airlines were not performing proper maintanenance," Stewart explained, "and when Federal Aviation Administration inspectors tried to, I don't know, point that out, their own bosses at the FAA pointed something else out. ... When an FAA inspector took issue with Southwest Airline's safety record, the airline asked the FAA to remove the inspector, and the FAA did."

"When you think about it," commented Stewart, "when you fly, you are inspected quite thoroughly, whereas the plane itself is, perhaps, occasionally vacuumed. See, with this administration, if a passenger blows up a plane, it's a failure in the war on terror. But if the plane just blows up on its own, eh, it's the market self-regulating."

Stewart then turned to correspondent Jason Jones, noting the similarity of the FAA lapses to others involving the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and mining regulations.

"A pattern, yes," Jones began. "I would call it a rich mosaic painted in blood and coal. Consider the facts. The response -- quote unquote -- to Hurricane Katrina. Christie Todd Whitman's false assurance there were no toxins at Ground Zero. Numerous mining tragedies ... global warming ... lead toys."

"It's incredible incompetance," suggested Stewart.

"Incompetance"? laughed Jones, slightly maniacally. "If these people were truly this incompetent, they wouldn't be able to feed and clothe themselves, much less run agencies."

"Jon, are we alone?" asked Jones, who was beginning to appear increasingly disheveled, with visible five o'clock shadow and a loosened tie. Moving in conspiratorially, he whispered, "Jon, they're trying to kill us!"

"Who?" asked Stewart.

"The Bush administration!" Jones exploded.


"I don't know! Maybe they think it's funny, okay? Maybe they're trying to bring on the Rapture."

As Stewart pooh-poohed these suggestions, Jones became increasingly paranoid, charging "You're in on it. You're one of them."

"Don't be silly, Jason." Stewart replied soothingly. "This is just what happens when regulatory agencies are managed by the very people they're meant to regulate."

But Jones has having none of it. "The devastation this administration has wrought has to be deliberate!" he insisted. "Morons could never be this consistent."

Jones then stood up and moved into full Invasion of the Body Snatchers mode, with the screen going to black and white.

"My eyes are wide open now," he said into the camera. "How about you, Mr. and Mrs. America? ... Can you see? Listen to me. No matter where you are, they're gonna get ya'. ... Stay vigilant. They're coming for you.!"

This video is from Comedy Central's The Daily Show, broadcast April 8, 2008.

:: we turn now though to the airline industry. obviously no stranger to problems. chronic delays. terror threats. mother (beep). that latter issue has been from what i'm told a (beep). air mongoose. air mongoose. solve one problem.

:: is the plane i'm boarding safe?

:: the f.a.a. has issued a safety alert about the landing gear on hundreds of boeing jetliners.

:: the wiring bundles are one of the problems.

:: cracks in the fuselage.

:: fire suppression systems.

:: cracks in the airframes.

:: concern about substandard bolts.

:: it is even worse than we thought.

:: jon: i thought it was fine. by the way, a quick note. anybody who may be watching this program live right now while on a jetblue flight... (laughing) i'm sure your plane is fine. so you might want to take this opportunity to switch to perhaps vh-1 classic or browse some type of sqi-based mall. take care. we're all going to die! how did this happen with the airlines? it turns out that many of our airlines were not performing proper maintenance on their air fleet. when federal aviation administration inspectors tried to, i don't know, point that out their own bosses at the f.a.a. pointed something else out.

:: you have a good job here. your wife has a good job over at the system. i'd hate to see you you jeopardize yours and hers career trying to take down a couple of losers.

:: jon: just so you know, my friend, i hate to see you and your wife end up with a one-way ticket on one of those planes you've been warning me about. how bad was it? in 2006 when an f.a.a. inspector took issue with southwest airlines safety record the airline asked the f.a.a. to remove the inspector and the f.a.a. did. one pilot addressed the ramifications of such collusion.

:: (shattered like a spider web between the air speed on the glass. then we would have had a catastrophic depressurization of the airplane.

:: jon: i think i've flown with that pilot before.

:: this is your captain speaking. those of you sitting on the right side can see a beautiful view of the grand canyon. absolutely beautiful.

:: jon: i believe that was legendary aviator. it's also sort of ironic when you think about it. when you fly, you are inspected quite thoroughly. whereas the plane itself is perhaps occasional vacuumed. see, with this administration if a passenger blows up a plane it's a failure in the war on terror but if the plane just blows up on its own, owe it's the market self-regulating. for more on this we're joined by senior washington correspondent jason jones. ( cheers and applause ) i wanted to ask you. it turns out that the f.a.a. has not exercised proper oversight over the very industry that it's charged with regulating just as under the present administration the fda, the e.p.a.s the mining agencies, et cetera, have also failed consumers and workers. a pattern, yes?

:: a pattern, yes. i would call it a rich mosaic painted in blood and coal. consider the facts. the response, quote unquote, to hurricane katrina. christie todd-whitman's false assurance there were no toxins at ground zero. the suppression of scientific facts supporting global warming, the failure to stop china from selling red toys to america's children many of whom don't even deserve to be poisoned.

:: jon: it's incredible incompetence.

:: incompetence? come on. if these people were truly this incompetent, they wouldn't be able to feed and clothe themselves much like run agencies.

:: jon: what are you saying?

:: jon, are we alone?

:: jon: not really.

:: are we alone now?

:: jon: no.

:: you know about....

:: jon: jason, no. jason, i don't think your proximity to me is the issue. if it stops you from getting closer to me, yes, we're alone now.

:: they're trying to kill us.

:: jon: who?

:: the bush administration.

:: jon: why?

:: i don't know. maybe they think it's funny. okay? maybe they're trying to bring on the rapture. you know, maybe bush has to destroy the country in order to inherit his crazy uncle's fortune. i don't know. but this reporter....

:: (screaming)

:: did you hear that?

:: jon: the crow. it's just a crow. you know we tape outside in a cemetery. look, it's not some kind of ominous pour tent of death.

:: you're in on it. you're one of them.

:: jon: don't be silly, jason. this is just what happens when regulatory agencies are managed by the very people they're meant to regulate.

:: you're wearing a wire, aren't you?

:: jon: it's a mike. so are you.

:: forget it. no more games, stewart. if that is your real name.

:: jon: it's actually not.

:: moreons could never be this consistent. my eyes are wide open now. what about you, mr. and mrs. america, out there in the audience? can you see? no matter where you are, they're going to get you. okay. on planes, iceless caps. they're coming for you.

:: jon: jason jones, everybody. ( cheers and applause ) we'll be right back.