March 31, 2024

Journalists called out for rampant stealing from Air Force One

In yet another shameful episode for representatives of America's media establishment, a report from Politico has revealed an embarrassing phenomenon that has been taking place on the president's airplane.

According to the outlet's “West WingPlaybook,” rampant theft of items by reporters traveling on Air Force One has become so serious that Kelly O'Donnell, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, has had to take action to try and stem the tide.

Not new, but getting worse

Politico explained that the practice of pilfering some form of souvenir from the aircraft is not exactly new and that many journalists enjoy spiriting away a little something from their trips so that they have a coveted piece of historic memorabilia to display to friends and family.

The piece stated, “For years, scores of journalists -- and others -- have quietly stuffed everything from engraved whiskey tumblers to wine glasses to pretty much anything with Air Force One insignia on it into their bag before stepping off the plane.”

However, the scale of the thievery has ramped up so significantly in the recent past that O'Donnell felt compelled to issue an email to her organization's membership demanding a stop to the conduct.

"Everyone does it"

A source who spoke to Politico indicated that another correspondent urged them to partake in the pilfering, saying, “You should take that glass...everyone does it.”

Another source suggested that it was not just journalists getting in on the act, but also lawmakers who regularly walked off the plane with mementos they were not given.

In an especially shocking anecdote, a former White House correspondent for a well-known outlet was said to have served an entire group of dinner party guests on gold-rimmed plates taken directly from Air Force One in piecemeal fashion over time.

Things have been so blatant at times that reporters remembered descending the stairs after landing, moving to the sound of clinking plates and glassware in others' bags.

Taking action at last

While the theft may have been an open secret for some time, things seem to have come to a head, as Fox News notes, after the aircraft's crew took an inventory after a recent trip and told the White House that numerous items had gone missing.

Individuals who had flown on the trip at issue were given an opportunity to “facilitate a quiet return” of what they had taken, with one such person eventually returning an embroidered pillowcase.

Though the White House insists that there is no effort afoot to “embarrass” anyone, officials said that the “petty, chronic grift” needed to stop, and hopefully, O'Donnell's message will have done the trick.

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