What the hell has happened to 60 Minutes? The name of the story was “Is The F-35 Worth It,” yet I really heard no debate in regards to that question whatsoever. What I did hear and see was an ill-informed reporter getting a look into the military’s side of F-35 program, with a few boilerplate questions thrown in. These questions were far from challenging considering how big of a blunder this weapons program has been. They mentioned that it was behind schedule and over budget, had some bad lighting and some unsatisfactory tires, and that was about it. Was the producer of this segment really a VP over at Lockheed Martin? All kidding aside, it just looked like he was having a blast playing with million dollar gadgetry and brushing shoulders with the military brass and test pilot corps.
Where was the long list of issues that the aircraft continues to suffer from without solution? What about discussing the alternatives to this machine and how many in the defense journalism and analyzation world see the JSF program as hurting America’s security not helping it? How could they have not included the opinion from someone, anyone, who is not receiving a paycheck in relation to this program? Not one-third party aerospace or defense expert was featured to give his or her view on this complex situation and not one independent study was cited. The reporter, David Martin, who mainly asked the same questions a child would have asked, was apparently not in the dark enough about aerospace and defense technology so they threw the damn super helmet on his head with the jet sitting in dark hangar, and let him look at a repeated image from the aircraft’s DAS system. He was just mesmerized that you can project an images and data into a motion tracking helmet? Sounds like this guy did a lot of research into the program and existing capabilities before executing this story. A real great pick for someone to do a feature on the most complex fighter jet ever built. Then came the grossest part of all, the finale of the whole piece, a “hard-hitting” smirk filled statement that none of these issues really matter as we are going to buy a ton of these aircraft no matter how good or relevant they may be. Well isn’t that convenient. Sickening.
Hey American public, it is great that you now know that the F-35 is “on track” (are you kidding me!?!?!)and cool guys with beaming grins dressed like Maverick from Top Gun, a no-nonsense Marine, and a bureaucrat that was characterized as if on cue to be a staunch defender of your tax dollars, all think that the F-35 is just great and everything is going smoothly! It is especially wonderful that 60 Minutes told the entire country that no matter what happens with ongoing testing, timelines, technological developments or costs, that the F-35 will be bought in mass. So who really cares about this topic anymore anyway right?
60 Minutes has had a rough year, but I beg them to never to do another aerospace/defense technology story again as they are now just blatant proliferators of disinformation in support of corporate interests. We had Bezos’s stupid drones now we have the ultimate puff piece on, of all things, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Maybe next week they will tell us that Jay-Z has gone into the spaceflight business and has developed a new rocket that will take everyone to the moon for a dollar. Bottom-line, If you think this is a good example of investigative journalism than I would suggest watching Disney’s “The Jungle Book” to learn about jungle ecosystems.
In the end the name of this story should be changed to “Is Watching A Story About Aerospace Topics On 60 Minutes Worth It?” The answer is unequivocally NO.
Some of you who are linking into this story and are not familiar with the site may think that this is a rant by someone who “hates the F-35,” I can tell you that I hate no airplane. I dearly wish this program was a good investment for America, sadly it is not. Still, there is some silver lining regarding the F-35 program as it sits today, here is a fairly positive, and in depth article I recently posted on the Marine’s F-35B variant. For those who are wanting to learn much more about this troubled endeavor, here are over 175 articles, some very in depth, regarding this complex issue.
View this infomercial, I mean “news story,” for yourself:
Here is the “60 Minutes Overtime” on ALIS (it would not embed): http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/can-the-us-militarys-new-jet-fighter-be-hacked