Any reporter who has ever covered a civil court case has been
force-fed the following statements: "We don't comment on ongoing
lawsuits." "We don't comment on lawsuits once they've been
settled." "What lawsuit?"
But American Airlines' response to the antitrust suit filed
against the carrier for alleged predatory pricing practices has
been anything but evasive. Like a canned obituary for an old movie
star whose demise has long been relegated from some-time to
sometime-before-lunch status, AA pulled out of its hat a full-blown
counterassault on the Department of Justice's action.
AA's Web site responding to the lawsuit, which appeared on line
within a nanosecond of the DOJ announcement, provides press
releases, case law, "relevant third-party commentary" and a slick
Q&A that makes AA look like the ACLU.
What a production! But then look at what's at stake. The
nation's second-largest airline has been sent to the principal's
office and accused of stealing little kids' lunch money. Bullies --
regardless of whether the label is deserved or not -- don't get
much sympathy. Unless, of course, they come up with a good enough