TOTAL CRAP: THE F-35 “NEWS BROCHURE” ON 60 MINUTES

F1414What 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

 

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17 Responses to TOTAL CRAP: THE F-35 “NEWS BROCHURE” ON 60 MINUTES

  1. CharleyA says:

    Well, at least they reported that the program was 7 years behind, and $150BILLION+ over budget – and costs twice as much than was spent to put a man on the moon. Those are metrics that 60 Minute’s target audience can understand. Notable that Lockheed Martin declined to interview for the program – why would they do that?

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Charley- Those metrics are the most basic of facts available but do not really paint a picture of how deeply troubled the program is and remains to be. Like I said, not one opposition voice or outside opinion. Not one. Nor anything put forward as to what we could have instead of this aircraft. And I disagree totally that the watcher of 60 minutes cannot interpret the systemic and conceptual issues with the program if discussed properly. Give me the same amount of time and resources and you will have a balanced piece that adequately reflects the situation. This was far, far from it. Just like Amazon drones, they could not even consult a aerospace expert to see if it was totally bullshit or not. As to LM declining the interview, they probably thought that the piece would release new info or at least highlight properly the struggles of the program and the lies sold by the manufacturer, it did neither so I guess they missed the boat. Terrible investigate journalism.

      • CharleyA says:

        Oh, I don’t think it’s fanatic investigative journalism at all. They took it easy on Lockheed Martin, because if they didn’t, they might lose some sponsors of their Sunday Morning and football broadcasts…. But you also have to accept that the Sunday evening general audience isn’t interested in aerospace minutiae – broad general facts and a hint of a scandal work better in this time slot.

        • aviationintel.com says:

          I think the term “Broad Facts” is a bit of an under statement, especially to the lack of density of said “broad facts.” I don’t think you need to know a bit about aerospace or defense topics to read a list of the issues that it is having and to bring on a opposition voice and talk about alternatives that America is giving up for this machine. Or the fact that the price tag is only 1/3 the story as the operational costs will over twice that of the aircraft it is supposed to replace.

  2. Scotoz says:

    The US mainstream media has been a group of cheerleading propogandists for these sorts of ventures or more accurately misadventures for some time, arguably since the 60s.The incredible notion that the US spends 10 times more than the next 10 countries defense budgets combined must beg the question why so much of tax payers $ are being spent as it appears it is for wars of aggression and serves no purpose in the overall security of the country. The Australian ABC did an expose on the F35 which was scathing last year and questions on whether the original planned order would go ahead was raised in parliament, It is gratifying to see some professional journalism without undue editorial control still exists somewhere as it definitely does not reside in the US 60 minutes. It can be viewed on UTube via http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2013/02/18/3690317.htm

    • Mark says:

      The idea that the U.S. media has been propagandizing anything having to do with the military is wholly untrue. In this particular case you have a reporter/program simply doing a half ass job.

      While I agree, there is major waste/corruption/stupidity in military spending, I would suggest that the reason other countries don’t spend more is because the U.S. picks up the slack. Get rid of the waste and such and the U.S. could definitely spend less, but perhaps, just perhaps other countries don’t spend enough on themselves.

  3. Jetcal1 says:

    The problem is not so much one of soft-ball reporting as much as it is that of sunk costs…the reporter nor the public don’t know or care that there is no alternative available except for legacy airframes that the USAF and the USMC clearly do not want. Besides, they probably called Loren for some background info.

    • aviationintel.com says:

      I think that the public would be interested in knowing that UCAV technology can accomplish the deep strike mission better than the F-35 to a exponential degree. The FB-22 would be a much better investment for a manned platform then the F-35 when mixed with UCAV, LRS-B, and updated 4th generation fighters. You don’t think that the public would be interested to hear that many think we can have a more flexible, affordable and capable force for less money than what this program provides? The people who “want” weapons platforms within the Pentagon have done more damage to our total force capability than any enemy has for decades. Just because someone has a uniform on does not mean they have it all figured out, clearly. If this is where we are when it comes to informing the public than they might as well just throw on a DoD funded military cartoon.

      • Mark says:

        Don’t you mean the UCAV technology MAY one day be able to do those things? It’s just as likely that it won’t either.

        • aviationintel.com says:

          No I mean it can. More on this in an upcoming piece. I don’t want to spill my beans in the comments section.

      • Jetcal1 says:

        Actually, I think the bigger danger is the people who “want” weapons platforms within the congress. I hope that we are lucky enough to be a position to rapidly build new aircraft/train pilots in the future if we hit the levels of attrition I am afraid of. And frankly, I trust the people in uniform on a far greater level over those in congress. Nor do I trust the DoD civilian bureaucrats who guard their rice bowls at the expense of getting good gear out to the troops.
        rant off/

  4. Shane says:

    I suspected something was up when Anderson Cooper joined the fray at 60 Minutes, have not seen an honest show about anything that matters from them in quite a while. The old guardians of truth are gone and a new generation of deceivers has taken their place. The F-35 is a gigantic rip-off..

  5. Otto says:

    When Bush was President, 60 Minutes hammered him on anything and everything related to war, national defense, the VA, you name it. Now, they gleefully back the Obama Administration. There have been so many puff pieces on DARPA, prosthetic’s, you name it.

    Not a question about the tail-hook. There you go….

  6. Greg says:

    Honestly I think you’re overreacting. Even though you deny it, you obviously hate the F-35 program. I agree with Charley, I think that for the audience of a Sunday evening program, general facts win out. I agree they could have at least interviewed someone representing opposition to the aircraft. But I have to ask, what’s the alternative to going forward? Abandoning all the time and money already spent? This aircraft has passed the point of no return. So I’m not really sure what detractors expect the military to do. This jet is the next generation air superiority fighter. We will absolutely need it if we ever go to war with China or Russia. Hindsight is 20/20, but in my opinion if we could go back in time I think a better option might have been to keep the F-22 in production and not start the JSF project. But they started it, spent a ton on it, and should continue the project until it is fielded.

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Greg- I am not going to rewrite my site here, but I have put forward an actual plan, with platforms described, that is way more flexible and way more cost effective and more capable than the F-35 path. Please read through my pieces on the JSF. It is all there, and much much more. It is hard to take your comment seriously when you ask “what are the alternatives,” do you honestly believe that there are no alternatives to this program? So it is an all F-35 force structure or none at all?

  7. Tired of wasted taxes says:

    McCain has been a fairly consistent critic of wastefull military spending. I wonder what he thinks about the F-35. In another related program, what are your thoughts about the B2? It was another extremely expensive project that was eventually killed after relatively few articles were produced (just like the F22 – and I understand the F22 doesn’t do what everyone wants). Sadly, the B2 seemed like a relatively good plane. And with the development, tooling, and infrastructure costs behind them for the most part, additional machines would have cost a lot less and lowered the overall individual cost of those produced. Now, we are going to build yet another bomber to replace the B52, and spend yet another $trillion.
    The far right complains about Welfare (which I do, as well) but many don’t see these programs as white collar/ corporate welfare – which they really seem to be.
    My tax dollars at work once again – protecting Amercian (corporate) interests overseas – the same interests that send our jobs overseas; and, don’t forget that the profit they make overseas is not subject to income tax as long as it’s held overseas. There’s something wrong with that equation.

  8. aerodawg says:

    You’re certainly an optimist expecting coherent well informed reporting out of the US media. The “journalists” that are generally ignorant of the subject being covered in anything more than a superficial way and are intellectually just above the Joe Sixpack on the street their reporting is aimed at. I would be much more surprised if they actually do good in depth reporting and analysis of a subject…

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