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View Full Version : Mining disaster --- the media and the Governor



Fran Crimi
01-05-2006, 11:42 AM
We all know that the mining company made an inexcusably bad judgement call by not correcting the error of 12 survivors as soon as they discovered it --- BUT

The media and Governor did not do their jobs and are getting away with not taking responsibility.

I was up late that night and because I generally like Anderson Cooper's reporting, I watched his coverage of the events as they unfolded. When he announced that there were 12 survivors, he used the words "we were told." I noticed right then and there that he was clearly uncomfortable with it. I don't know if he chose to go that route without getting official confirmation, or if he was told to say it by the home office. Throughout those three hours he continued to say "we were told," and continued to look uncomfortable saying it.

At the same time, the Governor who had easy access to the command center, did not make any attempt to confirm the information.

I realize that at that time, even if they had requested official confirmation from the command center, they would have been given wrong information, as the error had not yet been detected.

The coal company president emphatically stated that he didn't give anyone official confirmation. If only the media and the Governor would have sought that out, then one of two scenarios would have occurred:

One: The command center may have stated that they were not ready to give official confirmation yet, and the Gov and the Media would have to announce that the information is NOT official. Or:

Two: The command center would have given official confirmation on the bad information, but then would have had to correct it immediately after finding out the truth, since it had committed itself to an official confirmation.

Instead, what I saw the next day was the Governor backpeddling, stating he wasn't assuming it to be confirmed. He claimed all he said to the people in the church were that "Miracles do happen." And on CNN all day the next day, the reportors took every opportunity they had to praise Anderson Cooper for his brilliant reporting of the event.

This is not meant to signal out just those two. There were other media people there as well. NO one asked for official confirmation. And no one stood up and said the information was unconfirmned. It doesn't matter if the original misstatement came from the command center. You don't report it as fact until you get official confirmation.

Fran

Qtec
01-06-2006, 04:50 AM
Post deleted by Qtec

pooltchr
01-06-2006, 05:56 AM
Until the cause of the explosion has been determined, it's pretty hard to say who is at fault. One report I heard this morning was that lightning hit a metal pole that lead to a underground gas reserve.
This thread isn't about who is at fault for the explosion...it's about the media jumping the gun and reporting information that had not been confirmed. The first rule of journalism is to verify your facts before you report them. In many cases, reporters seem to have failed miserably in this area.
If there were violations that resulted in the disaster, I certainly hope those responsible are made accountable. But the media people who dropped the ball should also be taken to task. They have a responsibility to get their facts right before going public.
Steve

eg8r
01-06-2006, 06:11 AM
[ QUOTE ]
As workers struggle to reach thirteen mine workers trapped by a West Virginia mine explosion yesterday morning, their employer’s poor safety record and the government’s failure to protect them are coming to light. <hr /></blockquote> Sure did not take long to blame W. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

eg8r

Fran Crimi
01-06-2006, 09:02 AM
With all due respect, Q, I posted a serious issue regarding confirmation of information. I'm somewhat confused here...what does your post have to do with that?

Fran

wolfdancer
01-06-2006, 11:17 AM
Can you imagine what the families went through?
Deep concern and worry, preparing themselves for the worst...
then elation over the news that 12 had survived.....and then the real news.....
I think it compounded the tragedy
And because I am naturally suspicious of any politicians.....I hope the Governor was there out of concern, and not just there to look concerned.

Deeman3
01-06-2006, 11:56 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> Until the cause of the explosion has been determined, it's pretty hard to say who is at fault. One report I heard this morning was that lightning hit a metal pole that lead to a underground gas reserve.
This thread isn't about who is at fault for the explosion...it's about the media jumping the gun and reporting information that had not been confirmed. The first rule of journalism is to verify your facts before you report them. In many cases, reporters seem to have failed miserably in this area.
If there were violations that resulted in the disaster, I certainly hope those responsible are made accountable. But the media people who dropped the ball should also be taken to task. They have a responsibility to get their facts right before going public.
Steve <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue">Steve,

You and I usually agree but I think this situation was a little different in that the news media was, in essence, notified by the families, who came running down the street yelling, "They are alive." Those families having been told by a telephone call from a mine supervisor.

I don't understand the logic of a mine supervisor spreading the word except for some yearning to be the bearer of good news. I saw several reporters who said, "The families have told us, but it's unconfirmed." I don't know if they had much choice in delaying the info as it was news (even the family reactions) and were pretty much out of the loop as far as communications from the rescuers. If they had remained quiet and not reported the story as they saw it, we would be calling them something else today.

The whole thing was tragic. I went to bed relieved that they had been rescued but awoke to hear the bad news. I guess we have to all understand that none of us are perfect and it would have been easier if the families had known the truth earlier but I don't think we can continue to punish or blame people when they were just caught up in the joy of the moment. The end result is that they are gone and the drama that surrounded the situation was unfortunate but not the cause of the tradegy. Like you, if the mine was at fault, they should pay. </font color>

Deeman

Fran Crimi
01-06-2006, 12:17 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> Can you imagine what the families went through?
Deep concern and worry, preparing themselves for the worst...
then elation over the news that 12 had survived.....and then the real news.....
I think it compounded the tragedy
And because I am naturally suspicious of any politicians.....I hope the Governor was there out of concern, and not just there to look concerned.

<hr /></blockquote>

It did compound the tragedy and had he or the media done their jobs I believe that the mining company would have been forced to come forward sooner and this could have been avoided.

The Governor was surrounded by 3 or 4 staff members at all times and he claimed he had people down by or in the command center. He said that at the time he got the original misinformation, he was told from a staff member that it came from the command center. That was his original excuse, but then he changed it to "I didn't presume that it was official."

When he got that first information he should have sent one of his staff down there to get a name and a confirmation. That would have taken him all of 10 seconds to order. It was a no-brainer.

Afterwards, by refusing to admit his error, he showed his true colors, particularly when he continued to state that his purpose for being there was to make sure the families were kept properly informed. He was out of there so fast that he was practically running to his car.

You won't read about it in the papers because all of them made the same mistake. They'd have to indict themselves in the process of indicting others, and you know they won't do that. They're all just hoping to let it die.

Fran

pooltchr
01-06-2006, 12:55 PM
Dee,
They had an official command post set up. It would have been logical to confirm the information with an official source as opposed to reporting "hearsay" information, even if the source was a family member. The first question should have been "How did you learn this news?" and then verify before reporting it.

CBS had a survey on their site...who do you think was to blame for this error
A Mine officials
B Government officials
C Some of each
D Neither

Notice the obvious ommission of "The media"????????????

Fran Crimi
01-06-2006, 01:08 PM
Hey Deeman...I totally agree with you that I don't think it would have been fair to expect the commentators to stand around and be quiet while everyone around them was jumping up and down and cheering. But also, I do think it's fair to expect them to say that they have not yet confirmed the information. Don't ya think? One of the problems with them is they're always in a big rush to be the first ones to report something. It's gotten to a point where the race to beat out their competition is taking priority and they're lowering their standards as to what constitutes confirmed information.
Fran

Deeman3
01-06-2006, 03:33 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> Hey Deeman...I totally agree with you that I don't think it would have been fair to expect the commentators to stand around and be quiet while everyone around them was jumping up and down and cheering. But also, I do think it's fair to expect them to say that they have not yet confirmed the information. Don't ya think? One of the problems with them is they're always in a big rush to be the first ones to report something. It's gotten to a point where the race to beat out their competition is taking priority and they're lowering their standards as to what constitutes confirmed information.
Fran <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue">Fran,

Not much disagreement here but I even saw that hyper Hyspanic Rivera, say, We have been told by family members, unconfirmed, that they are all alive!" I even made the same comments to my wife until I heard him say it twice. "Unconfirmed" I even saw his anchor woman very tense when he first made the anouncement but she relaxed, visably, when he said, unconfirmed. Later, he said, "As yet, unconfirmed." Of course he was sniffling and whinning like a two year old when he said it. </font color>

Deeman

SpiderMan
01-06-2006, 04:25 PM
Your are quite correct in your assessment. At this point, it's damage control and blame avoidance by those who rushed to scoop the spotlight.

SpiderMan

Fran Crimi
01-06-2006, 05:00 PM
Well good for Geraldo for saying it was unconfirmed. He may be the only one. Unfortunately, the daily newspapers didn't have a problem going to press with the unconfirmed information.

Fran

Fran Crimi
01-06-2006, 05:29 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr>
CBS had a survey on their site...who do you think was to blame for this error
A Mine officials
B Government officials
C Some of each
D Neither

Notice the obvious ommission of "The media"???????????? <hr /></blockquote>

Wow. That is VERY sneaky of them. I hope there's a good lawyer out there fighting for the families who plans to sue the whole lot of them.

Fran