Canadian conservative commentator Mark Steyn, a funny, bright and eclectic author—I learned about him first be reading his book on the decline of Broadway musicals—was flying on United when he discovered that his website, steynonline.com is on a United Airlines blacklist that blocks passengers from accessing the site on the airline’s in-flight WiFi system.
It really was called a blacklist by the airline. Steyn tweeted United during the flight for an explanation. Someone at American had the wit to tweet to Steyn, still airborne, that they wouldn’t block his site.
What’s going on here?
I know that porn sites are blocked by airlines, but conservative blogs and websites? No, it’s not a First Amendment issue, it’s a “Who the hell do you think you are?” issue. Content censorship by an airline? Steyn wants his WiFi fee back, but imagine if hotels, airports and Starbucks adopted this form of private censorship. I’m assuming/hoping that this was a stupid mistake and just incompetence, since incompetence is what United is best at. Yet so far, if the airline has an explanation, it hasn’t been publicized.