Frischling has since, in various forums over the past 15 years, exploited the tragedy of Flight 800 by describing scenes he could not possibly have seen and bragged about money he could not possibly have made from photos that could not possibly exist.
Prepare to be offended.
Only weeks after the accident, Frischling responds to a spammer on a newsgroup to brag he made more than $2,000 in six hours because 230 people died one night:
alt.journalism.photo: "Great CASH GAINS" (8/3/1996)
"6hrs at TWA Flight 800, I was the only non-related civilian on the US Coast Gaurd base, I made over $2,000 in 6 hrs........."A few years later, that amount has climbed to $7,000+:
Sports Shooter: "Stringing for AP" (12/1/2003)
"The last assignment I really shot for the AP was in the morgue the night TWA Flight 800 crashed off Long Island. AP got it's five or six photos for $180 (x2 because of the time I invested, and access I was able to get without their help) plus miles, and I managed to get $7,000 from Newsweek for photos they never ran in their North American editions."Contrast that to six years earlier, when he claimed he had banked nearly a year's salary that night, and also makes the absurd claim of being inside the makeshift morgue! First, it is doubtful the authorities would have allowed a photographer in that morgue, and if they had, don't you imagine that those photos would been seen all over the world?
NPPA-L: "Who Makes What...some actual numbers" (7/20/1997)
"then again I left a few days before TWA 800, was the only photog on thebase or in the morgue that night and made a little less that the yearly salary in one night..."He repeats this claim about the morgue in 2008, and now brags he has been at "multiple plane crashes!"
FlyerTalk: "anyone ever been through an aborted takeoff/landing?" (5/14/2008)
"Having shot around multiple plane crashes in my news career, including being the pool photog in the make shift morgue for a 747 that blew up, I'm not keen on being on crashing planes. I'd rather shoot news than be news."But being in the vicinity of a plane crash and making a fortune off it is not dramatic enough for Steven Frischling. In 1999 he hijacked a thread about the Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colo., to grab some attention for himself by overstating his connection to Flight 800. He admits to making "bad jokes about TWA 800" (he's all class!) but you must understand, he needs to make these jokes! Even three years later, it is all Frischling can do to get through each day after the hell he witnessed that night!
NPPA-L: "Littleton, Tornadoes, etc." (5/5/1999)
"I know I have made a number of bad jokes about TWA 800, but I also know that I never want to see my negatives again from the night the 747 crashed. Making jokes, seeming all confident and strong is what kept me and keeps me from falling down in a ball of tears."What a sensitive soul.
He also claims a county detective ripped the film from his camera, and describes distraught Coast Guard "boys" standing over stacks of body bags!
NPPA-L: "seeking police contacts" (2/22/1998)
"I think most of us have faced this. While on the USCG base the night TWA Flight 800 crashed an over zealous Suffolk County Detective,who had no offical power, as he was ona federal military base, where I was a guest, ripped the film from my camera, he was escortd from the base, and the base X.O. filed a complaint against him."NPPA-L: "to die for?" (9/29/1997)
"5 photos were taken durring actual rescues, including photos of USCG rescuers over a stack of body bags the night TWA 800 crashed just outside the morge, these men(boys really) are holding each other and holding in tears"
This guy is literally unbelievable.
Extra thoughts come from a commenter, who clearly knows a thing or two about news photography:
"If he was actually on an assignment for AP he would have not been able to sell his images to Newsweek for what he is describing as a high fee for first look (to get exclusive images in order to beat out the other news mags) AP would have owned his film.Another commenter:
If he was pool for the morgue his images would have appeared on all the wire services, but they do not.
If he had been INSIDE the morgue he would have had access to powerful images that would have surely run all over the place. I have never seen one.
There is ONE photo on the AP wire of the exterior of a coast guard station with ambulances parked in front. Nothing from inside. No dramatic photo of Coasties holding back tears as they stack body bags."
"I have googled, binged and yahooed every possible variation of TWA flight 800 morgue as well as East Moriches Coast Guard TWA morgue and have come up with nothing other then a reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for his story about the morgue following the crash of TWA 800. I looked on the AP wire, AFP and UPI - not a single pool picture of body bags stacked or anything from inside or outside a morgue on the night the plane crashed. The photos that Frischling describes would have ran EVERYWHERE and would still have a presence on the web. Weeping Coasties and body bags? Hell, a picture like that might have even been a contender for the Pulitzer. I think the real story is that he shot the outside of this building using direct flash and that was about it. Like I said, if he had been the pool photographer, all of those pictures would have been shared with all of the wire services and he wouldn't have made a dime on resales because the market would have been saturated with those photos since they would have been distributed by multiple outlets."Do you find this offensive that anyone would exploit the deaths of 230 people in such a manner? Do you find it absurd that this giant tool still has a travel blog on BoardingArea.com? Meet Randy Petersen, the owner of BoardingArea and founder of FlyerTalk, who refuses to remove Frischling's blog despite being well informed about his actions. In fact, it would appear Randy Petersen even pays Steven Frischling a share of the money from the advertising on the site! (Do you think BoardingArea.com advertisers know what their ads are appearing next to?) By the way you can email Randy Petersen at email@example.com to ask why he still keeps Frischling as one of his bloggers, whom he claims are all "hand selected" by his "team!"
|Randy Petersen, BoardingArea.com founder|