Elizabeth Spiers’ Take On Brazil Plane Crash Flamed

Wondering what Elizabeth Spiers has been up to since abruptly leaving Deadhorse Media, her downtown blog network? Why, it appears mediabistro.com’s former editor has been traveling with her boyfriend, pitching stories to Slate and responding to subsequent reader hatemail. Here’s her lede:

The World’s Worst Airline

A TAM plane crashed in Brazil Tuesday. I wasn’t surprised.

By Elizabeth Spiers

TAM Linhas Aereas is the worst airline in the world. I’ve been saying that repeatedly since early April, when my boyfriend and I took a short vacation in Brazil and returned happy with our stay but traumatized by the air travel. So Tuesday, when a TAM Linhas Aereas Airbus A320 on an inbound domestic route skidded off the Sao Paulo airport runway, tried to take off again, and crashed into a cargo building owned by the same carrier, exploding on impact and incinerating nearly 200 people, I felt angrily (and OK, smugly) justified in my condemnation.

Now, obviously, Slate columns — any column, for that matyter — are inherently meant to be provactive. Not for the faint of heart. But even Spiers seemed to be caught off guard by the ensuing message board vitriol. Here’s a sample:

Slate Should Know Better Than to Print This … This looks like a piece written by an immature teenager girl with no knowledge at all about the aviation industry and with dramatic personal experiences that nobody cares. Her writing is irresponsible and malicious. It is also disrespectful to the employees of TAM and the victims of the recent tragedy. This type of writing would fit more for a sensationalistic magazine that covers nonsense things like the celebrity gossip. I hope for Ms. Spiers to remove this article and in the future write only responsibly and with regard of others.

Even old friends like Andrew Krucoff are appalled:

I read it, as I do with anything concerning Elizabeth Spiers these days, with sadness so great and heavy that I was caught off balance and fell backwards a couple of years. I pity the woman, I really do. I used to protect her in these situations but for a small town church-raised Alabama native, she has a surprising lack of humility. (Is that a stereotype? Thanks for paying attention.) I’m tempted to report her to the Department of Homeland Embarrassment. In short, if you haven’t read it, the Legally Bland Spiers now deems herself an expert on international travel because her “boyfriend” is a travel writer … and based solely on the poor customer service they encountered on a recent trip they took to Brazil, she declared TAM airlines to be the worst in the world — and oh yeah, to those people who just died on TAM, “MWAHAHAHA, I TOLD YOU SO!!”


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