This New American Airlines Policy is Everything That’s Wrong With America

A Flyertalk member reported that the main American Airlines Admirals Club at Chicago O’Hare airport will no longer tune the television channel at the bar to national news “because of a recent fight or fights” and instead they’re willing to show local news and cooking shows.

I reached out to American and it turns out they aren’t aware of any bar fights in their lounges. However they’ve instructed clubs not to show national news on their televisions unless requested by a member.

Apparently news channels are simply too divisive. Gone are the days when we all watched CNN’s Airport Network. Instead we have to choose between:

  • Fox News (‘Trump News’)
  • CNN (‘Fake News’)
  • MSNBC (‘Telesur‘)

They could tune to CNBC but the markets have been really depressing lately.

Two years ago Southwest baggage handlers slapped ‘fake news’ on a checked CNN camera which is better of course than the camera being stolen by the TSA.

If we can’t watch the news in an airline club in peace — when we fight over the news instead of sports — what does that say about our society?

Can we get back to sports please?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I can’t say I blame AA for doing this. Folks get really hot about politics, and our current president is likely the most polarizing we’ve ever had. If AA is diffusing conflicts in their lounge inspired by folks reacting to the political news, then this is the logical move. It’s like a parent taking away a toy when their children keep fighting over it.

    I wish adults could act like, well… adults, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  2. It doesn’t help when all of these networks focus on political news 95% of the time now with very little non-political news stories.

  3. This 99 percent started with Trumps campaign, and calling things fake news. Before that, we had some civility… Put the blame where it belongs.

  4. It is great news. Chicken Noodle Network promotes its fake news stories and it is really bothersome. I am sure liberals are stuggling with having facts delivered to them while they enjoy a Bud Light.
    In all sincerity, news networks have become too offensive and they disrupt a lounge experience. same goes for Hotel lobbies/bars.
    I think it is a great move.

  5. @Jon, because there are a minimum of 3 scandals a day breaking news, and at least 5 tweets insulting other people or spouting nonsense. What you would like the news to cover that day, the positive impact of caffeine on heart health?

  6. The reason why these networks are all that we have is because they have been selected through viewership, and thus advertising revenue, levels. They were what rose to the top and what has shown to be economically attractive and sustainable.

    So I guess what it “says about our society” is that perhaps we are a bit too reliant on market based solutions, eh Gary? 😉

  7. I want to live feeds from Parker’s office, so I can get breaking news on plans to shrink lavs and gut Aadvantage benefits

  8. This is the fault of Trump and Fox News. While decent Americans always try to assume there are two sides to every story, the truth of the matter is that by delegitimizing other platforms they hope to give their own BS more credibility. That said, objectively we know Fox news and the Trump team are lying.

  9. Or just ban people who get into fights over politics. You don’t want these kind of people flying anyway.

  10. @CW what you’re saying is humans are flawed, but your implication just raises the old Madison point about constitutional limits on government… paraphrasing, if all men were angels, there’s be no need for government. if government were to be run by angels there’d be no need for constraints. But it’s precisely that men are to rule over other men that we must first empower and then constrain.

    Remember that it’s the people who can’t watch news without getting into fights that are the ones who make and enforce government rules.

    And whichever side you’re on, the power you give government will at some point be wielded by the other side. Those who generally favor more government should be cautioned by Trump, but won’t be because they equally weren’t by George W Bush.

    But now you’ve trolled me into the same conversation American wants to help us avoid. So can we just go back to sports?

  11. I actually think its a good thing and all airports should stop showing news
    Walking through DFW is a nightmare with a million screens turned to news
    People who fly want to relax and not to be bombarded with bad news which is all there is anyway

  12. @Gary “Those who generally favor more government should be cautioned by Trump, but won’t be because they equally weren’t by George W Bush”

    Check your fact before spewing your liberal spin Gary. The size of our government got much much larger as well as all the entitlement programs under Obama’s watch. Along with an 86% increase in our debt in 8 years. So who should caution who?

  13. @Gary, sorry, could not help myself! Thanks for being fun about it. Glad to go back to sports, except this LAC-NE game is out of hand…

  14. I many of the comments here explain why this is an issue. Look at the bright side….at least they are “making” us watch MTV….yet.

  15. Religion and Politics are never to be discussed in public these days. People just don’t know how to “Agree to disagree.”

  16. CNN. MSNBC and FOX News. None of these have been legitimate media outlets for quite awhile. All three networks are HIGHLY divisive and routinely feature people shouting into the camera about whatever particular political view they have. They would be better off playing the BBC.

  17. @Joelfreak What are you even talking about? Were you not an adult at the time of the whole sarah palin fiasco with “gotcha media”? It goes back before her. The media was like this way the hell before Trump came on the scene, so just stop with that nonsense. The media was engaged in this stuff back with George W Bush, not to mention how they acted with the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Its been like this for decades and it keeps getting worse.

  18. Generally speaking, people don’t want to see opinions that diverge from their own anymore. And, of course, because the real ad money for “news” channels is made from opinion shows, most of the content on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC is opinion shows, not actual news updates.

    As for actual news, we’ve gotten to the place where people on the right and left, both, see news that doesn’t show their side in a good light and they immediately jump to thinking the very communication is an attack on them personally.

    As my grandmother used to say, “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Don’t be a hammer.”

  19. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break from TV entirely when travelling? I long for the lounge without a TV screen at all. Those who can’t do without this are invariably carrying a ‘device’ of some sort to remain in their bubble.

  20. Just turn off the TVs. Lounges should be a quiet place to work or relax. No one needs “news” in the background.

  21. Sports? Please, no.

    Nothing worse than having to deal with grown adults rearranging furniture around the television and loudly cheering or cursing every play.

    Either take the TVs out or show non-divisive, educational programming like Planet Earth or something. On mute.

  22. No ‘news’ networks show much news anymore & are primarily all just opinion shows. Each opinion show has its own slant & that slant is likely to tick off 50% of the viewers who would otherwise not choose to watch that network.

    A cooking show sounds like a much more entertaining alternative to be honest then hearing various pundits yell about current events.

  23. @Gary. How am I not supposed to think that it’s anything other then Liberal spin? When you specifically reference Trump and Bush, but skipped Obama’s neglect. Give me a break. Be honest for who you are and what you stand for.

  24. Your View from the Wing logo is soooo sly Gary – that logo at the top of your page naturally pictures the left wing. Another case of undeniable left wing bias in the media!

  25. Maybe the Weather Channel would be a good alternative, at least you’ll get some idea what kind of weather you’ll be flying through

  26. “This is the fault of Trump and Fox News. While decent Americans always try to assume there are two sides to every story, the truth of the matter is that by delegitimizing other platforms they hope to give their own BS more credibility. That said, objectively we know Fox news and the Trump team are lying”

    If you actually believe this Alpha, YOU are a big part of the problem. You can’t understand that the networks YOU like are also biased.

    As a retired journalist, I am both saddened and appalled by the state of journalism in America these days. In the “old days” — like a decade ago — the media skewed left because most journalists were liberals, but the media TRIED to be fair. No longer. The vast majority of our national media are now partisans.

    From a financial standpoint, this makes sense. The people who consume news have strong opinions. Th people without strong opinions don’t pay much attention to the news. If the NYTimes tried to play it straight, they would go out of business because their rabid liberal subscription base would vanish almost overnight. Similarly, Fox News’ ratings would collapse if they had middle-of-the-road hosts. The money is now in partisanship.

    I find this sad as the nation would benefit from less biased media. I don’t really see a pathway to that now, however. Eventually, our politics will probably get less polarizing (Trump v. Trump Derangement Syndrome will be hard to beat), and that will probably make TV news less bitter and divisive. And when that happens, maybe AA can turn the TV back to news programming in its lounges.

  27. I remember when we all watched the cable news together for updates on the 9-11 attacks and during the first Gulf War. We cos watch then discuss things from all channels. Gosh, it fee like 2001 was such a long time ago….

  28. Just put on BBC World News instead.

    It would actually do a lot of good to hear about things that isn’t USA, for once.

  29. Wow, this reminds me of what I have learned about the Nazis at school… Where “real patriots” claimed that people reading other newspapers than the Nazi ones are dangerous.

    What did you do with the US?? Why are you braking it? I used to love the US.

  30. Traveling is inherently stressful to varying degrees. I don’t need anything to add to that. Pretty much all national “news” is heavily skewed and spun one way or the other, and it is all strategically designed to get the viewer fired up (they’ve figured out that this drives viewership and therefore profits).

    Bottom line: I don’t want to be force fed “news” at the airport, much less in a lounge.

  31. Not listening to views that counter your own (the echo chamber effect) is what in part led to the election of Donald Trump. The elite failed to listen to what the white middle class was saying and that left an opening for him to be elected. While I think the policy for the lounges is okay, there is a much broader idea of whether ignorance and avoidance is better than addressing head on.

    This country has always been divided. The type of political, racial and gender related divisions we see don’t happen overnight. What happened overnight was the realization by a lot of the American people. It feels as if people want to regress back to a point of ignorance. I don’t think that is the best idea.

  32. All politics aside, it was CNN’s coverage of MH Flight 370 that convinced me to never watch their Fake News ever again. I heard Don Lemon suggest that the plane may have disappeared due to entering a wormhole, or being captured by space aliens.

    He said that with a straight face and all of his fellow panelists were either too shocked or too dumb to even challenge him on that. They just moved onto the next talking point.

    That’s when I permanently blocked that ridiculous channel.

  33. Blaring TVs are the bane of public spaces. I don’t care if it’s news or sports or cooking or gossip. Leave the TVs on, as long as they are muted. Turn on closed captioning so people who are interested can pay attention and leave the rest of us in peace. My guess is this would allow them to go back to news if they wanted, without fights.

  34. Blaring TVs are the bane of public spaces. I don’t care if it’s news, sports, cooking, gossip, or what. Leave the TVs on if you want, but on mute. Turn on closed captioning so people who want to can pay attention while the rest of us can ignore it.

  35. Why all the love for BBC? Must be a “grass is greener” thing because they don’t deserve to be at the top of some journalistic integrity pedestal.

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