AIG, US Airways, and Stephen Mallon

by · · Posted in: musings · media

Industrial Photographer Stephen Mallon seems to be getting the runaround from AIG and US Airways, who for some reason want to hide his outstanding photos of the recovery of flight 1549 in the sofa cushions. Lots of details at the online photographer.

Of course AIG is an insurance company so I imagine the thinking goes something like this:

Calculate the following

Odds that something damaging may come of these photos:
Miniscule but greater than zero
Cost of suppressing a sole proprietorship business:
Miniscule approaching zero
Reward for the insurance business of the public seeing great photos:
About zero
Public good of documenting historic event
Not our problem

For a risk-averse company (and what insurance company is not pathologically risk-averse), even if the odds of damage are almost nil, it costs nothing( they assume) to bring those odds to zero. They have little reason to support the rights of Mr. Mallon. Of course if enough people take Mallon up on his request to pester the companies involved, it changes the cost of suppression and raises the a the risk of bad PR—something with which AIG has some experience.