CHICAGO — The forcible removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight has been a PR disaster for the world’s third-biggest carrier.

But it’s the colorful past of passenger Dr. David Dao that has come under a predictable media spotlight from sleazy tabloid newspapers.

As highlighted by the likes of the Daily Mail and New York Post, a Dr. David Dao was convicted in Kentucky in 2004 for prescribing drugs to patients in exchange for sex.

And they just couldn’t resist harping on juicy details like how the married doctor was also allegedly batting for the other side.

Some commenters online have questioned if it was necessary for the media to drag up the doctor’s past. And we would have to agree with them.

Some people are now accusing United Airlines of running a smear campaign against the doctor.

We’re not so sure they are.

For big stories like this, the media always does some digging into the background of the central characters, regardless of whether what they uncover is relevant to the issue at hand or not.

For example, it’s also been revealed that Dao trained as a chef, and made serious bank as a poker player — which seem like pretty positive qualities to us, rather than part of a smear campaign.

In the end, none of this really matters and is a distraction from the real issue.

Everyone has a past, and we seriously doubt the cops who removed Dao from the plane knew anything about his.

The only thing that matters is whether the force used to remove the passenger was justified.

And that looks like it’s going to be a matter for the lawyers.

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