Written by Noemi Pollack on April 15, 2010.
In recent news, there were updates on three of my blog topics of the last six months that caused me to have three “feel-good” moments. And so, I thought I would share them, in descending order, with the most recent one first.
On April 8, 2010, writing in my blog headlined, “The Added Costs Of Flying,” I took exception with Spirit Airlines’ plan to start charging passengers for carry-on bags at a $45 per clip. I argued that it would certainly send a better message to the flying public for airlines to have the courage to simply raise their air ticket prices (notwithstanding price war games), rather than have a barrage of fees for once-free amenities that would total a ticket price hike anyway — but without the “smoke and mirrors.” I voiced concern that this might spur on other airlines to follow suit.
The update: According to an AP article reported by Harry R. Weber, “Six Democratic senators want to hit U.S. airlines with a tax if they charge passengers for their carry-on bags.” The senators hoped that this move would deter other airlines from following Spirit Airlines’ lead. We need to wait as to whether or not this gains traction to win support in Congress, but how wonderful is it for senators to take a stand on behalf of consumers?
On March 11, 2010, I debated in my blog headlined, “A Furious Debate Heats Up As The National Enquirer Reaches For The Gold,” the worthiness of The National Enquirer as a candidate for a Pulitzer Prize, even though it actually qualified for that prestigious prize for having been the first to “out” the John Edwards story all the way through his denials of the affair and of fathering a child out of wedlock.
The update: Happily its entry did not win which, in my opinion, left the prestigious and legendary journalism, untainted. But history was made anyway, and in a positive way, with the win of a cartoonist for SFGate.com, the online arm of the San Francisco Chronicle, and an investigative journalist at ProPublica who won Pulitzer Prizes for their work. Although there was a previous wining online entry, Politifact, a database project of the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, this is the first time any online-only publication has won an award for editorial content.
Last November 4, 2009, I wrote in my blog headlined, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Is On The Prowl Again, that the FTC was not amused that credit rating companies were using the mandated free credit reports as a lure for charging a monthly service fee that alert subscribers to important changes in their credit status. Apparently “free” was not actually free. Still, although the FTC, at that time, countered with warnings as well as ads about their warnings, they did little else to prevent consumers from getting “bilked” by would-be free sites.
The update: According to a Sacramento Bee report, “To crack down on misleading advertising, the Federal Trade Commission is requiring companies offering “free credit reports” to state clearly that there’s only one authorized site to get them: AnnualCreditReport.com. The new rules, a mostly overlooked piece of last year’s massive credit-card reform bill, are aimed at deceptive radio, TV and online ads that hook consumers with catchy jingles and promises of “free” credit reports.
Good change is in the air…