Fox News Thinks AirAsia Flight 8501 Was A Victim Of The Metric System, Whatever That Means

When something as shocking, tragic and unexpected as the disappearance of an airplane happens, the bizarre theories start flying a little fast and loose. It was true of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — who could forget CNN's Don Lemon asking whether it could've been sucked up by a black hole? Well, Fox News host Anna Koolman now has a notion of her own: Was AirAsia Flight 8501 a victim of the metric system?

It's a claim that sounds kind of farcical on its face, and... well, yeah, it stays farcical the deeper you dig into it. Sometimes, when you watch cable news, you can sort of see the "game within the game," so to speak — a situation in which a host starts a segment with a preconceived notion, then tries to massage a guest or analyst into backing their view.

That's sort of what seems to happen here, as right off the top, Koolman introduced ex-FAA spokesperson Scott Brenner while invoking the potential for calamity brought by the metric system: "Even when we think about temperature, it’s Fahrenheit or Celsius, It’s kilometers or miles. You know, everything about their training could be similar, but different." Hats off to the Raw Story for capturing the clip.

Raw Story on YouTube

Brennan, however, wasn't quite willing to play ball with Koolman's strange line of questioning, focusing instead on what he considered more reasonable differences in how pilots behave in-air — like the pervasive use of automatic pilot systems by many foreign airlines, in comparison to what he considered American pilots with better, hands-on cockpit training.

... a lot of crashes are due to pilot error. So, if you try and eliminate any potential risk, you try and eliminate the pilot’s ability to make incorrect inputs into the aircraft.

Koolman wasn't quite ready to let her metric system naysaying go, however, pressing the point.

It’s not just a difference in the way that we measure things? Is it not as safe in that part of the world? Because our viewers may be thinking, ‘International travel, is it safe? Is it not safe?'

To which Brennan replied, as clearly as he could:

... It’s the safest mode of travel you can have. But just on training, I believe our U.S. pilots are very well trained… They also actually fly the aircraft when they’re in the cockpit versus, a lot of times as soon as those wheels are up, a lot of times folks are required, foreign pilots are required, to hit that autopilot almost until wheels come back down again.

Look, obviously, this is still a far cry from that infamous Don Lemon episode. However unlikely it is that a commercial airliner could be brought down by confusion over the metric system, it's still a lot more likely than a plane getting sucked into a black hole (ostensibly localized, impossibly, somewhere in the skies over Southeast Asia). That, I feel safe in saying, will go down in the annals of all-time worst crackpot theories to get airtime on a major news network.

But Koolman's effort to explain the disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501 was nonetheless bizarre, and was met with a similar, if less direct response from the guest she was questioning: um, no.

Images: The Raw Story/YouTube; The Boston Globe/Twitter