The Mining Tragedy

If there is any way to make a disaster worse, it happened last night. I went to bed listening to the general euphoria of Rita Crosby as she interviewed family members, and woke up this morning and listened to those same family members dealing not only with tragic loss, but anger and a sense of betrayal.

Apparently there were communication problems between the rescue team in the mine and the rescue HQ at the mine site, and the discovery of the twelve men was interpreted to be the discovery of twelve living men. This was then transmitted not by way of the formal protocol set-up by Governor Manchin (himself a victim of the 1968 Farmington disaster), but instead someone at the mine site (or nearby listening in to a scanner or 2-way radio) contacted someone via cell phone.

From there, things went down hill. Gov. Manchin was in the church with the families, and someone ran in and yelled “They’re Alive!” Chaos ensued, the church bells went off, and the entire town began to wake up and congregate at the church. The media members didn’t check with anyone, and spread the story as if it were true. The media coverage, if you will, reified the news with their blanket coverage and their own elation.

Gov. Manchin and his staff, who could not confirm the story, left the church to go to the mine site. On his way to the car (or at some point around this time), Gov. Manchin said something to the effect of “Miracles can still happen,” and the unfortunate families interpreted this as confirmation from the Governor. Only when Manchin got to the actual mine site did his staff begin to learn the news that the earlier communication was inaccurate.

At that point, many people are wondering why the company and the Governor did not ‘correct’ the rumors at the church. From my understanding, the company nor the Governor had any way to ‘correct’ the record. As neither had officially made a statement and done anything to get the hopes of these families up, what could they say now- “Don’t get too excited, we don’t know how many people are alive.” How could they comment at all, when they had no idea what the right numbers were, and were not responsible for the elation at the church? They simply had no idea how many people were alive, and could not possibly make any official statements.

This was a disaster, and it was made worse by the cruelness of the false hope. But I really don’t think I can blame the Governor and his staff, who never confirmed this event, and were simply on the same receiving end of information as the families. I don’t blame the company, because they never released the information, and the people on site themselves believed all 12 were alive. I don’t blame whoever it was that leaked the information to the families. I certainly don’t blame the families, who reacted the way you or I would. Hell, in my case, I reacted the same way- I was ecstatic and immediately linked to the CNN report.

I do blame the media, for not confirming their sources and for running with it as if it were fact- that was horribly irresponsible. I can, however, understand how it happened. The media is made up of people, too- something we often overlook. They have been there for the last 40 hours, standing vigil in the muck with the rest of the folks there, and Rita Crosby and Anderson Cooper wanted those miners out alive as bad as everyone else.

In short, it is a tragedy. I find it hard to blame anyone involved, other than the media, who should have been more responsible. But I can’t even really be mad at them for that. I don’t mean to be too pat about this, but there is a reason why these are called disasters, and right now I just feel bad for all those families.

If you are interested in some good coverage, check out the Charleston Daily Mail.

The ‘two’ Charleston Gazettes this morning. I preferred the one on the left.

*** Update ***

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to how the families ‘found out’ the false information to begin with. From what I understand, and I have watched this non-stop and listened to the local radio, the families were informed by some well-meaning bystander, and not through official channels. This is what I believe to be true (of course, I may be wrong) at this point:

The rescuers thousands of feet in the mine were communicating on an open channel that could be picked up by any radio scanner or some form of two-way communication. I am unsure if there were actual loudspeakers at the entrance to the mine that broadcast their communication, but I do know that the people in the HQ had an open speaker for everyone in the room to hear, and any State Trooper, EMT, Fireman, or other rescue worker of state and federal official with a police style scanner could monitor the communications. Likewise, any private citizen with a similar device could do the same. At any rate, someone heard the communication from the folks deep in the mine when they discovered the 12 men and misinterpreted what the rescuers said. Someone then ran into the church yelling “They’re Alive.”

There have been some reports that Bob Hatfield (why does he have to be named Hatfield- thank goodness the Governor’s name isn’t McCoy), the ICG representative, told the families. I have seen NOTHING to confirm this, and find that difficult to believe. The company and the Governor had a process for disseminating information to the families first and the press second, and that process did not include running into the church and breathlessly shouting “They’re Alive!”

Additionally, I have seen people saying the company should have said ‘Those reports are unconfirmed.” Maybe, but at the same time, what do they say- they are in the middle of a rescue, they do not know who is or is not alive, and they weren’t really in a position to say anything without actual information.

*** Update #2 ***

From the WVU intranet:

A West Virginia man who was injured in a deadly Upshur County mine explosion is in critical – but stable – condition, WVU trauma director Lawrence Roberts, M.D., announced at an 8 a.m. news conference at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. According to Roberts, Randall McCloy Jr.’s injuries include a collapsed lung and severe dehydration. Because McCloy is sedated, physicians cannot conclude if he sustained any head injury. Roberts attributed McCloy’s injuries to prolonged immobility and dehydration. McCloy did suffer some carbon monoxide poisoning, but those levels have been reversing themselves since he was first taken to the hospital. McCloy has been under Roberts’ care since approximately 3 a.m. this morning, when he arrived at Ruby Memorial Hospital. He was transferred to Morgantown from St. Joseph Hospital in Buckhannon. The next news briefing will follow at 1:15 p.m. today.

Ruby Memorial Hospital is about 800 yards from my house.

*** Update #3 ***

Pajamas Media has a round-up of reactions.

*** Update #4 ***

More on how the bad information may have travelled.

*** Update #5***

It wasn’t via the scanner or open radio. It was a cell phone call from someone at the Rescue HQ, who received the garbled communication from the rescuers within the mine.

Here is what happened, at least according to the press conference:

The rescue squads were wearing breathing apparati, and communicating via radio to a point somewhere else inside the mine called the ‘Fresh Air Base.’ They found the men, and reported to the ‘Fresh Air Base.’ The Fresh Air Base then called the rescue HQ outside the mine, which was broadcast over a loudspeaker in the room. The place heard that 12 men had been found, and celebration broke out. People then dispersed, and used their personal cellphones to call someone in town. Then the person ran in to the church, and you know how events unfolded from there.






159 replies
  1. 1
    Steve says:

    It doesn’t seem to me that the Governor did anything wrong. All he could have said is that his staff hadn’t confirmed it yet and it would have been bizarre to throw a bucket of cold water on everyone like that. He did the appropriate thing, he went to the site to check it out.

    I’m confused about whether the company should have said something, though. The accounts I read said that the company knew within 20 minutes that the rumor wasn’t true (although they still didn’t know how many were dead). Even though they weren’t responsible for the original rumor, once they knew people were celebrating based on a false rumor, shouldn’t they have at least announced that the jury was still out?

  2. 2
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    Depressing as all hell. Ugh.

  3. 3
    Jim Allen says:

    Well said, John.

  4. 4
    DJAnyReason says:

    It was kind of surreal, walking into work today and seeing headlines side by side in the Pittsburgh dailies, the trib saying all 12 alive, the P-G saying that they had died.

  5. 5
    demimondian says:

    John, that’s bullshit. The company and the governor had a responsibility to formally say “Yes, more miners have been found. The rumors that they were all found alive seem to be incorrect, however.” No, they certainly should not have rushed out with casualty figures, but they should have said that the rumors were false.

    Every written account I read last night, by the way, said that the reports were unconfirmed. I know, because I turned to my wife and said “Hold on, these are unconfirmed. They could be wrong.”

  6. 6

    I don’t blame the company, because they never released the information, and the people on site themselves believed all 12 were alive.

    From what I heard, and this was directly from family members who were in the church, the head of ICG, Hatfield, is the one who told the families that there were 12 survivors.

    I watched on both CNN and MSNBC as they interviewed family members who claimed that it was Hatfield who told them the news.

    I fail to see why these families would lie, but right now it is their word against his.

  7. 7
    skip says:

    The Governor will be blamed anyway–because every sin needs its Judas goat. The media will be blamed too, because one always shoots the messenger.
    But it is just sad, and everyone should have taken more care to be right in such tragic circumstances.

  8. 8
    ppGaz says:

    I do not agree that “blame the media” is the correct response here. The media may share some blame, but not the bulk of it.

    I say, blame the mining company and the officials in charge at the scene for failing to maintain control over the flow of information. There should have been clear lines of communication and everyone involved should have been briefed to go up or down the established lines before going outside of their own immediate context. This is like communications 101, if you’ll pardon the expression. Every crime scene and fire scene and rescue-recovery scene has this mechanism in place …. if it’s set up by competant people. The media know only what comes from the established and official point of contact, if it’s done right.

    It clearly was not done right in this case. And the media are not responsible for that, in all liklihood.

  9. 9
    The Other Steve says:

    I agree.

  10. 10

    “Sense of betrayal”? Who do they think betrayed them? How can these people ever begin to trust mine owners and the politicians they own?

    When will the meek inherit the earth?

    My guess from here is that this WAS a communication fuck-up, probably run by the same folks overseeing that mine’s safety. Hey, but how much money did the company make last year?

    I’m going to try and read some more of THE MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF FASCISM before the USC-Texas game.

    When will the meek inherit the earth?

  11. 11
    Krista says:

    Does it even matter? None of us were in that situation, and emotions were so heightened that I really can’t see the point in figuring what could/should have been done differently in regards to communications. It did add to the tragedy, but they’re all human. I just hope that the communications errors won’t distract from the fact that investigations need to commence, regarding the operations safety of that mine. Considering the short attention span of the public, I’m worried that all the talk will be on who said what, as opposed to how this tragedy occurred in the first place.

  12. 12
    John Cole says:

    PPGAZ- The company couldn;t control the information any better- the communication between the rescuers in the mine and the rescuers at HQ was done on a open frequency- anyone with a scanner could have heard it and told the families. Any police with a scanner, any emt’s in an ambulance with a scanner, rescue folks with a scanner, or, as is very popular down here in WV, any citizen with a scanner could have heard it.

    THey aren’t to blame, from what I see.

    I think everyone wants to blame someone, but I don’t think there really is anyone to blame too severly for this.

  13. 13
    CaseyL says:

    I don’t want to blame anyone for the miscommunication. No one misled anyone deliberately, and anyone who was part of the “They’re alive!” chain must already want to crawl into a hole and pull it in after them. (If it was me, I’d be leaving town and changing my name, frankly.)

    As for the mining company itself… according to NPR, that mine has a long history of numerous, serious safety violations – not little things, but the kind that make safety inspectors lie awake at night. However, also according to NPR, a new management company took over the mine as of November. It sounds awfully unfair to hit the new managers for safety violations they might not even have known about, or had scheduled for remediation but just hadn’t gotten to yet.

    I’m sure more info about the safety violations, and which safety policies the owners are responsible for versus the management company, will be forthcoming in the next few days.

  14. 14
    Lines says:

    Grief is temporary, Death is not. Death is the issue here, lets find out what caused it and make sure that needless deaths like this never happen again.

  15. 15
    Pb says:

    what could they say now- “Don’t get too excited, we don’t know how many people are alive.”

    Er, yes. That would have been good. Or perhaps that the earlier report that all twelve miners were alive can’t be confirmed.

    And I’d take it further–anyone with this information should have told someone, the families or the media or whatnot. Remind me again what’s wrong with getting some facts out through an official channel during a disaster instead of letting them play a freaking game of telephone.

  16. 16
    neil says:

    I don’t know if the media is to blame for the miscommunication in the first place, but it is to blame for the fact that thousands of miles away, I read that they were found alive, over the internet, even after it was known to be incorrect.

    And since I found the link via John’s site, I’m counting him as part of the media.

  17. 17
    Mike S says:

    Utterly tragic.

  18. 18
    p.lukasiak says:

    Blaming anyone for the wrong story getting out is a waste of time. Its virtually impossible to completely control the flow of information in a situation like this without literally shutting down all communications between those at the mine site, and the families. And in a situation like this, when the families are demanding to know every detail about what is happening, simply shutting them out would not work.

    But it was the responsibility of the mining company to have immediately corrected the misinformation as soon as they found out it was false. A simple statement saying that the company can not confirm the reports that the remaining 12 miners had survived would have sufficed, because it would have dampened the euphoria of the families.

  19. 19

    No one did anything wrong in this unfortunate situation. What _may_ have been wrong are the health standards in the mine prior to the incident, but we shouldn’t get the two confused. Many victims families appear to now want to take legal action against the company only after they false hopes have been dashed. Obviously grief can do a lot, but as an outsider I would hope they only decide to take legal action based on the events prior to the incident, not after.

  20. 20
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I was wondering about this as I read the links posted last night to CNN and the CBC. Neither one of those stories actually talked about where the survivors were, or had a statement from them. I thought it odd that there were no details about their story of survival, nor any mention of the survivors being whisked away to hospital.

    I held my tongue rather than seem a cynic, but alas, my cynicism was justified. I feel so badly for both the miners and their families, who must be feeling completely emotionally exhausted right now.

  21. 21
    capelza says:

    Oh god…I haven’t had the news on yet. This is terrible. And espcesially so, becuase the families have so far to crash. From the joy of believing they were alive to this…horrrible.

  22. 22

    It is hard to blame anyone. I think the company should have at least said the report of their survival was not official. But maybe they didn’t know the family knew.

  23. 23
    Doug says:

    Hopefully this will at least call attention to the fact that, a lot of times, what the cable “news” networks call news is really just facts-optional disaster porn used to attract viewers so they can sell them soap and whatnot.

    I don’t know what good calling attention to this will do in the long run, but maybe we’ll stop mistaking the CNN/MSNBC/Fox type coverage for news.

  24. 24
    Zifnab says:

    I mean, it certainly sucks, but reports are known to jump the gun on this sort of thing. It was hardly a cover-up.

    That said, we now have to face some serious questions about the mine itself. Twelve men dead in a cave-in at a mine with 208(?) sitation, 96 of which were considered serious leaves a massive chunk of liability. Now is the time to address the company, the state of WV, and the country as a whole as ask the tough questions as to why this was allowed to happen and how we can prevent it from happening again.

    Now we get to ask where the WV state Congress and the Governor stand on mining regulations and safety violations. And we get to ask the US Labor Department how they could have so greviously dropped the ball.

    We get to ask these questions. I don’t know who actually will.

  25. 25
    Capriccio says:

    Bottom line in all this…mining disaster…Katrina…Iraq…9/11…the works…we live in an increasingly incompetent society…all partisan sniping aside (God help us)…the scary effin’ truth of the matter is that other than making world class weapons and distributing them over third world landscapes with cold-blooded accuaracy, we are becoming the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Which puts me in mind of the most prophetic words spoken by a major politician in the past 30 years: “Ideology doesn’t matter; competency matters”– Michael Dukakis upon accepting Democratic nomination for president, 1988.

  26. 26
    Brian says:

    I don’t know what to say, John. I too went to bed, here in Los Angeles, after hearing from our local news that 12 were alive. Then I woke up to CNN this morning to hear the real story, and all of the commentators across the TV spectrum demanding answers at how this miscommunication could have happened, but never asking it of themselves.

    A tragedy all around.

  27. 27

    Okay, we don’t blame anyone for miscommunication. It’s not yet time to blame the company for running an unsafe mine. The levee repairs wouldn’t have worked anyway. There is no global warming. The Governor didn’t ask for help. It’s the result of market forces. We couldn’t compete with Chinese mines. We thought the intelligence was good and everyone got the same information. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, or it’s Clinton’s fault. Jack Who? Never heard of him. The NSA made us spy on you. Minin’ is dangerous, they went down there of their own free will. God is on our side. Stop flinging corpses. 9/11 equals Saddam is a bad man. Osama Dead or Alive Who? Grown-ups take responsibility. You shouldn’t let yourself get your hopes up. Now everyone shut up and get back to work.

    By the way, has anyone noticed how much Dubya is slurring his words at his press conference this morning? Initial stages of Parkinson’s? Tardive kinesis caused by anti-psychotic meds? God’s will?

  28. 28
    srv says:

    The company couldn;t control the information any better- the communication between the rescuers in the mine and the rescuers at HQ was done on a open frequency- anyone with a scanner could have heard it and told the families. Any police with a scanner, any emt’s in an ambulance with a scanner, rescue folks with a scanner, or, as is very popular down here in WV, any citizen with a scanner could have heard it.

    Someone with a scanner could have heard transmissions from rescuers 12000 ft underground?

  29. 29
    Mike in SLO says:

    Gotta agree with Doug. When will we all stop watching the Cables News channels? Although they portray themselves as sad today, they absolutely LOVE this kind of story. Rita Crosby is the worst tradgedy whore out there and is salivating at the number of family interviews she’ll get for what I’m sure will be a week of coverage about this horrible accident. On the political side, the whore Chris Matthews is spewing garbage about how Abramoff is the only bad guy out there and most congressmen are good and honest and it’s their evil staffs that are to blame. Finger pointing in both stories will be frequent and wrong. Graphics will be cool and all will be forgotten by Monday.

  30. 30
    Krista says:

    Actually Bob, I think it IS now time to start blaming the company for running an unsafe mine. As someone said earlier, the first responsibility lies with the mine management, for having so many violations, and the second responsibility lies with the authorities, for not enforcing the regulations and for allowing the mine to keep going despite those violations. What now needs to happen is for someone to do a serious investigation of that mine and it’s management, to find out WHY they had so many safety violations, and WHY nothing was evidently done about it.

    We now know what happened to those miners. Now it’s time to find out how it happened, and how to better prevent something like this from happening again.

  31. 31
    John Cole says:

    There have been repeated reports that the genesis of the explosion was in a sealed off portion of the mine, and Gov. Manchin even stated that the explosion may have been caused by lightning or falling rocks- they really just have no idea why.

    Time to investigate.

  32. 32
    Davebo says:

    I suppose there had to be a tie in right? Via Drum.

    Coal executives, threatened by Vice President Al Gore’s green background and his pledge to increase taxes on fossil fuels, thought they could get a better deal with the Republicans — when they raised a record $3.8 million dollars for the 2000 federal election, 88 percent went to the GOP. At the annual meeting of the West Virginia Coal Association a few months after Bush’s inauguration, the group’s director told 150 industry executives, “You did everything you could to elect a Republican president. [Now] you are already seeing in his actions the payback.”

    ….Bush also demonstrated his friendship to industry leaders when he awarded the top job at MSHA to an executive with Utah’s Energy West Mining Company, David Lauriski, whose top two deputies would also be recruited from mining companies. The woman who would become their boss, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, is the wife of Kentucky’s Republican senator Mitch McConnell, a long time political ally of coal companies.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....007922.php

  33. 33
    demimondian says:

    Lines wrote:

    Grief is temporary

    No. Grief is unending. Sadness is temporary — but someone whose husband, lover, father, or brother died in that mine will miss him for the rest of his or her life. What the rest of us feel is sadness and disappointment; we’ll get ober it. The grief of the survivors never ends.

  34. 34
    Pb says:

    Davebo, yep, and there’s plenty more where that came from. I found far too much of it with google without even trying. :(

  35. 35
    KC says:

    As much as I would like to put order on the situation, start lobbing blame at whoever, I’m pretty much with John here. In chaotic situations, sometimes rumors run wild to our detriment. I just feel for those families.

  36. 36
    Brian says:

    Krista,

    Since you’re lining up people to answer for this, include the leadership of the United Mine Workers. Miners and their family members have been complaining today about the failure(s) of their union’s leadership in addressing safety concerns at that mine.

  37. 37
    Krista says:

    Brian,

    Fair enough. Mind you, for all of the influence and power that I have in U.S. affairs, we could add Santa Claus to my list, for all the difference it makes.

    Let’s just hope that the people who DO have the power to initiate investigations will be thorough, fair, and tough as hell.

  38. 38
    Lines says:

    There are Unions left around America? At this point in time, I just don’t understand why, since they havn’t been effective for the last 10 years in combatting the slowly eroding workers rights. Their complicity in the degradation of conditions and benefits should have signaled the death of Unions long ago. Who still pays Union fees? Why?

  39. 39

    Sad News out of West Virginia

    My heart and prayers go out to the families of the Victims of the West Virginia Mining dissaster. As a Virginian, nearly a West Virginian, I know the strength of the people of the region. I pray that that strength…

  40. 40
    The Other Steve says:

    Ohwell. Any time now I expect the NRO and Michell Malkin to start blaming the Governor. After all, he is a Democrat so it must be his fault.

  41. 41
    Don Surber says:

    Company needs a thorough investigation. MSHA should be up to the task. Given the previous citations, I’d say ICG is in big trouble

    No one should die digging through dirt just to bring electricity to half the country. Nobody

  42. 42
    Don Surber says:

    The Other Steve:
    Joe’s a good guy

  43. 43
    Mike S says:

    Grief is temporary

    Let me know how temporary it is. I’m going on 12 years for my father and my step-father is going on 15 for his son. Both of us would like to know when it stops.

  44. 44
    ppGaz says:

    I think everyone wants to blame someone, but I don’t think there really is anyone to blame too severly for this

    Yes, but classic and standard command, control and communications at a scene such as this was invented and perfected a long time ago, party to prevent just this sort of thing from happening.

    Somebody screwed the pooch and failed to implement and enforce the standard mechanisms. I’ll wager that you will find that somebody either in the employ of the state, or the employ of the mining company, or both.

    It’s not enough for everyone to just stand around and say “Way-ull, we done the best we could.” No, they didn’t.

    And for the record, I am not in a hurry to blame anyone, I am in a hurry to say, don’t rush to blame the media — at least primarily or entirely — for this awful gaffe.

  45. 45
    Brian says:

    Who still pays Union fees? Why?

    Good questions. As a (now inactive) union member, I have first-hand experience with a union that only took my money and succeeded in blocking me from getting work. While I consider them “outdated technology”, unions can be a great force in this increasingly globalized world of ours if they can reshape themselves to serve their memberships in a 21st Century economy, and not an early 20th Century low-tech economy.

  46. 46
    CaseyL says:

    What I hear about the union at this particular mine is just the opposite: that the mine non-unionized.

  47. 47
    Lines says:

    As far as I understand grief therapy, they suggest that extended grief lasting over 6 months is something that needs to be taken care of so the person may move on.

    Holding on to grief is just holding onto the past.

  48. 48
    Mike S says:

    Holding on to grief is just holding onto the past.

    Have you ever lost someone? That line leads me to believe that you have not lost someone extremely close to you.

    Grief is a funny thing. Everything can seem fine and then something comes up that brings it all back to the surface.

  49. 49
    Krista says:

    Lines – it depends on the person and on the situation. Yes, the rawness of grief should subside over time. If it does not, then help is probably needed. There has to be an allowance for a transition, though. Oftentimes when people do start to get beyond grief, there then comes a period of intense guilt about getting beyond the grief. And for some people, the person that they lost meant everything to them. Why do you so often see elderly spouses each dying within a very narrow timeframe?

    Sometimes, the past is all you have.

  50. 50
    Otto Man says:

    Kevin Drum has passed along some disturbing facts about the safety track record of the Sago Mine:

    Ellen Smith, the editor of Mine Safety and Health News, probably knows as much about mine safety — and more about the obscure Mine Safety and Health Administration — than anyone alive. She sent along the following brief summary of the safety record at the Sago Mine:

    How bad was the accident and injury rate at the Sago Mine? Terrible. The national average for mining accidents (non-fatal days lost) in 2004 was 5.66 per 200,000 manhours worked. The Sago Mine, which was owned by Anker West Virginia Mining Co. at that time, had an accident rate of 15.90. In 2005, Sago’s accident rate increased to 17.04, and 14 miners were injured.

    So how does that compare to other underground coal mines in West Virginia?

    Kingston Mining No. 1 Mine, which is about the same size as Sago, had an accident rate of 1.21 and one miner injured in 2005.

    Mountaineer Alma A Mine, which is a larger mine, had an accident rate of 3.08.

    Robinson Run Mine No. 95 and the Harris No. 1 Mine both had accident rates of 3.93.

    The Blacksville No. 2 Mine last year had an accident rate of 4.41 and the Loveridge No. 22 Mine had an accident rate of 5.62.

    All of these mines were below the national average. One has to ask what was happening at the Sago Mine or its sister mine, Stony River, which had an even higher accident rate than Sago.

    Agreed.

    What happened here was a tragedy, and it seems there were plenty of warning signs. This needs to be looked into fully and aggressively, so it doesn’t happen again.

  51. 51
    Brian says:

    What I hear about the union at this particular mine is just the opposite: that the mine non-unionized.

    I called the United Mine Workers in Virginia just now, and they confirm that it is non-union. I take back my comment, then. I was feeding off what mine workers were saying about how their union failed them. Seems like a good argument in favor of unionization if this mine continues operation.

    Here’s a Q/A on mining I found at NPR. Some useful info here, just passing along.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....Id=5125860

  52. 52
    Brian says:

    This site has data on mines if you have the time to poke through it:

    http://www.msha.gov/

  53. 53
    coolcajun says:

    A horrible tragedy indeed.

    I think that the 24/7 news media outlets(CNN/MSNBC) deserves most of the blame for the false information. They are just so hungry for tasty news bits that they run with a story without checking with officials. They could have talked to knowlegable folks or waited word from officials but that would not make good TV.

  54. 54

    John is exactly right on the scanner angle. Police scanners and two-way radios are a major source of information in most rural communities; in fact, these “alternative media” were flourishing in red-state America decades ahead of cell phones, weblogs, podcasts and the like. Just go to any small-town barbershop in West Virginia, and you’re likely to have your hair cut to the accompaniment of a police-frequency broadcast—punctuated by color commentary from the gentleman wielding the scissors.

    More at: http://writingcompany.blogs.co.....ess_g.html

  55. 55
    capelza says:

    Coolcajun..I agree to an extent, however, they were simply at the church reporting what they saw live (that they should have been more prudent and not bloody stupid and ghoulsih is another story).

    The preacher and the folks who they showed on television were out celebrating and praising the Lord because someone within their community told them they men were alive. (If I understand that correctly.) That (or those) person must feel like a complete and utter shit today.

  56. 56
    p.lukasiak says:

    Pajamas Media has a round-up of reactions.

    whore :)

  57. 57
    p.lukasiak says:

    I think that the 24/7 news media outlets(CNN/MSNBC) deserves most of the blame for the false information.

    yes and no.

    Yes, if you think this tragedy is all about YOU, then blame the media. They should never have gotten YOUR hopes up like that, only to have YOUR hopes dashed.

    No, if you recognize that what is important here is that the tragedy of the deaths of these minors was compounded for their families by the dissemination of information that gave them false hope — and that the media had nothing to do with the misinformation the families received.

  58. 58
    Lauren says:

    I just walked past the newsstand and saw a big headline declaring 12 live miners.

    God, I feel terrible for those men and their families, can’t quite put words to it. The false hope.

  59. 59
    coolcajun says:

    All good points made above.

  60. 60
    ppGaz says:

    MSHA should be up to the task.

    Should be, but I suspect we’ll find that MHSA has been gutted and disempowered. Look at the pages of $60 fines levied against this mine recently. Sixty bucks for violations having to do with ventilation, combustible materials, configuration of electrical equipment.

    I read somewhere that they total of these actions was less than $4k in fines over the long term. Four thousand bucks in fines for a mine that has all the warning signs of being a damned deathtrap.

    MHSA “up to” the task? We’ll see, I’m hardly convinced.

  61. 61
    Wizbang says:

    The “Miracle At Sago” That Wasn’t

    Editor & Publisher is doing post mortems on the print media meltdown in the wake of the tragedy at the Sago mine in West Virginia. They call it “one of the most disturbing media performances of its kind in recent…

  62. 62
    space says:

    There are really two mistakes here. First was the initial erroneous report that excited the families (i.e. whoever rushed into the church, shouting “They’re alive!”). That was tragic, but there wasn’t much to be done about it.

    Second was the media blasting the news across the entire planet. As P.Lukasiak points out, having my hopes dashed this morning is, needless to say, a minor inconvenience compared to what the families have gone through.

    But that is no excuse for shoddy journalism. The truth is that 99.9% of what is reported on a daily basis has only a tangential relationship to my life. But does that mean that it shouldn’t be reported accurately? Of course not.

    It is the job of the media to report stories accurately. That is what they claim to do. When they fail to do perform their jobs, they should be called on it.

    Rita Crosby is a sensationalistic whore. She wasn’t caught up in the moment. She does not give a crap about those miners, her melodramatic pleas for prayers notwithstanding. No, she wanted to scoop her competitors. So she and her equally guilty colleagues at other outlets ran with the story as fast as their little feet could carry them.

    And there is no excuse it. It isn’t as if they received an initial report that was wrong. They were reporting based on 100% rumor. Where are the editors? The producers? Is Dan Rather the only person in the entire country expected to report a story correctly?

  63. 63
    coolcajun says:

    Great post, Space. You are spot on about Rita Crosby. She also has the distinction of having one of the worst voices in TV today. I mean I know a lot of people(including myself) who can’t stand hearing her speak.

  64. 64
    IrmaAkendorf says:

    Can someone please suppose what we would be talking about if the following occured:

    one of the cable news channels did NOT show the joy and celebration for those three hours until the official press conference *and* the 12 were still alive?

  65. 65
    Gratefulcub says:

    Not to make light of anything….

    I don’t watch south park, but I caught a snippet that was perfect, to paraphrase….

    “We are reporting that 1,000,000 people have died in the flood. We are also reporting that there is murder, rape, and all around mayhem sweeping through the town of 8,000.”

    “Have you seen this, or had it confirmed.”

    “No, we are reporting it.”

    And, if Rita Cosby asks one more person “How did it make you feeeeeel?” she should be forced back to local networks doing weather where she belongs.

  66. 66
    The Other Steve says:

    I think it’s interesting seeing the Open Sores media whores declaring how much more right they were compared to the MSM, when they themselves also broadcast the “12 miners found alive” claim.

    LOL!

    DIsaster porn at it’s finest.

  67. 67
    Krista says:

    No kidding.

    John, to paraphrase Paris Hilton: where’s my dog?

    I think some pet blogging is needed to lift our spirits.

  68. 68
    ppGaz says:

    There are really two mistakes here.

    Several, not two, and the one you highlight is not really the relevant one. The relevant one is the failure to control the scene. That includes the flow of information to the families. That is not the responsibility of the media.

    However, it is reasonable to expect … perhaps, demand … that the media be up to speed on how the command and control at the scene is supposed to work, and to report that, and to report any apparent deficiencies in it, and to be very wary of any information that arrives outside of the designated channels. This second suite of mistakes, made by not one of the media outlets but apparently by all of them, is an appalling signature.

    In other words, having thought this all over, I’ve changed my mind. The media are not responsible for the fact that the scene was not controlled … those who made THAT mistake have to answer to the families.

    But to the rest of us, the media need to explain how they basically just sat there and blasted bullshit over the airwaves without even stopping to measure and consider the controls, or lack of controls, at the scene, and acting accordingly.

    Between this mess, and what we saw last year during hurricane season, one has to wonder whether any of the institutions of government or information out there are competant to handle anything at all?

    It’s an important question, since the country might do things like START A WAR based on the words and actions of these apparently feckless and clueless assholes.

    I am thinking that this situation is worse than we thought. We .. citizens … are on our own out here. We can’t count on anyone in a position of control or authority knowing what the hell they are doing.

  69. 69
    Pb says:

    ppGaz,

    $60? Hey, that’s a few thousand pounds of coal we’re talking about here!

  70. 70
    capelza says:

    $60 bucks? Jesus H. Christ, can we get a fisherman in charge of the EPA? It is a $25K fine or so for any oil spillage on in territorial waters…like from a leaking stuffing box, a non-deliberate act that could produce the meerest sheen on the water wqhich is STILL punishable by the huge fines.

    $60 is disgusting…that’s a lunch for one of those people.

  71. 71
    Birkel says:

    The speed with which blame must be assigned during/after a tragedy speaks more to those who must unburden themselves from the realization that life is fleeting than about those to whom blame is assigned. Tragedies happen — and we all wish they happened less frequently, but the fact is they do happen less frequently now than before — and some think the appropriate response is to lash out.

    Others simply wish the families, co-workers and friends godspeed.

    Would, but for the grace of God…

  72. 72
    Insulted says:

    The MSM and The Sago Mine Disaster

    Bloggers are getting this terribly wrong. First Sullivan, and now the Instapundit are seeing this disaster as way to take shots at the MainStreamMedia. “See, see!” They’re screaming, “The MSM sucks! See, they fucked up the reporting! Again! See! We…

  73. 73
    P. Froward says:

    We definitely need to pass more laws. If there were more laws, bad things wouldn’t happen. Have you noticed that mine disasters never happened until George Bush caused the hurricane? This is unprecedented! George Bush has FAILED to protect us from mine disasters!

    Uhh… riiiight.

    Here, actually, is how reality works: We spend N dollars enforcing mine safety regulations. For our money, we get a standard distribution curve with lot of mines of roughly average safety in the middle (lefties: the average doesn’t end up in the middle because of a conspiracy), a few relatively safer mines at the top, and a few relatively unsafe mines at the bottom. But you don’t get perfection. In very rough terms, you spend N dollars, pass N laws, and fix 80% of the problem. Now, if you double the amount of money you spend on mine safety, and if you double the number of laws about it, you’ll fix maybe 80% of what’s left. Then you double the dollars and the laws again, and you fix maybe 80% of what’s left. Then somebody dies in a mine accident anyway, and the lefties all go apeshit demanding yet more money and yet more laws, so you quit building levees and put all the money into mine safety, because hurricanes are so last year, and the hot issue this week is mine safety.

    What happens next? You get a tornado, that’s what. But you weren’t prepared for a tornado, because you’ve let the lefties and the media controlling the agenda, and they think that whatever went wrong most recently is the only thing that matters. Those people live in a fantasy world, and they have the attention span of a gnat.

    So:
    1) Lots of things can go wrong, and you can’t devote all of your resources to preparing optimally for each one of them.

    2) You cannot, in fact, prepare optimally for any of them: Diminishing returns isn’t just a good idea, kids. It’s the law. The belief that perfection can be achieved is, literally, insane.

    3) No matter how well you prepare, sometimes you’ll hit the jackpot anyway and get clobbered. And don’t tell me that somebody predicted one thing or another; dozens of other equally credible sources will always have predicted other things entirely.

    By all means, if this mine had a safety record inferior to what’s required by law, enforce the law. Yes, we can learn from things going wrong, but if what you’re “learning” is that we need to thrash the usual scapegoats, play politics-of-fear, and panic ourselves into passing ill-considered laws, you’re a fool.

    ppGaz: You seem to be saying that if the media reported gibberish about the aftermath of a hurricane, and if some mining company in West Virginia is unable to put a hex of some kind on police scanners so they won’t work, then… then all of the instutitions of government in this country are incompetent to handle anything at all. Is that roughly correct? You left a few gaps in your logic. Big ones.

  74. 74

    The hardest thing for an on-scene reporter to do harkens back to a very old comedy skit:

    “Yes, we’re here on the scene, Bud, and the news from here is that there’s no news from here. Back to you, Bud, at News Buzz Central.”

    Yes, it’s OK for a reporter to relay whatever he or she gets wind of. BUT they’re supposed to be trained, and have the presence of mind, to specify the source, character and quality of that information — especially in emotionally charged environments.

    Last night a bunch failed in that responsibility to, first, warn everyone loudly and clearly that the 12-alive report was from someone who seemed to be in the command center but as far as was known then was not an official charged with the responsibility of releasing that information. Second, they should’ve been knocking themselves out to track down the exact source of that early report.

    There really is too much emphasis on being first with the “news” and, as others have pointed out here, with milking situations like this for every atom of human-interest exploitation.

    In some real ways, we were better off when TV news people worked to prepare accurate, timely reports for their evening and 11 p.m. air times, and in between people watched Lucy and Desi, “Playhouse 90” and the Wednesday night fights.

  75. 75
    Jesse says:

    This is like what happened at the Munich Olympics. The media first reported that all the Israeli hostages were saved and then reported that they were all dead. This type of mistake makes the pain so much worse for the families.

  76. 76
    P. Froward says:

    Addendum to point 1) above: What you do is you prepare imperfectly for all kinds of things that might go wrong. You allocate resources based on what seems more likely to happen, how destructive various things seem likely to be if they do happen, and so on.

    And you live with the fact that there’s more to life than preparing for disasters.

  77. 77
    Lines says:

    Hey Froward:

    How do cuts in funding fit into your little rant against leftists and liberals that are demanding on-the-job safety requirements actually be followed?

    No, wait, I think Fuck You is a much better way to answer your rant. Its empty logic fits better in RedState.org or LGF where you can rant about how much money liberals love to spend on things that don’t matter. Once you get over your selfish “Screw You, I’ve got mine” attitude, maybe you’ll understand why shit like this should never be tolerated and those that created the situation should be held accountable.

    Bush may not have thrown a lit cigarette in the mine, but he appointed crony assholes that don’t know care a bit about safety and health and are dead set to destroy what regulations stand in the way of making money. If you don’t understand that, then you are a blind fool.

  78. 78
    Stormy70 says:

    The media is just returning to the “yellow journalism” at it’s roots. They have gotten most stories wrong for years, so why would anyone trust the first reports to come out of any disaster?

  79. 79

    The thing about regulatory oversight of businesses with health-safety implications for workers and the public under George W. Bush was covered well by Molly Ivins and Lou DuBose in their book, “Bushwhacked.” There’s a whole chapter on it, starting with how an innocent consumer in Philadelphia died from listeriosis after eating tainted lunch meat. (That kind of thing happens to a surprising number of Americans every year, by the way.)

    What it boils down to is this. Under Bush, word is passed down through the bureaucratic mazes of various agencies — most now headed by former lobbyists and executives from the industries being regulated — that regulators, inspectors, etc., had better think twice before taking actions that interfere with company production and profitability. Get it wrong a time or two, or earn a name as being overly assertive, and your career could suffer, if you still have a career.

    People trained to become safety professionals are taught early on that, when in doubt, they should err on the side of caution. Under Bush, they’re obliged to err on the side of not being a nuisance if there’s even the slightest chance they could be creating hassles, and costing a business money, for nothing.

    Was this change of emphasis at work at the mine where those 12 miners died? It’s too soon to make that conclusion for sure. But read “Coal Mine Reports Spate of Citations” and see what you think.

  80. 80

    I was ecstatic and immediately linked to the CNN report.

    I do blame the media, for not confirming their sources and for running with it as if it were fact- that was horribly irresponsible.

    Quoted without comment, John.

  81. 81
    scs says:

    From my understanding, the company nor the Governor had any way to ‘correct’ the record. As neither had officially made a statement and done anything to get the hopes of these families up, what could they say now- “Don’t get too excited, we don’t know how many people are alive.” How could they comment at all, when they had no idea what the right numbers were, and were not responsible for the elation at the church? They simply had no idea how many people were alive, and could not possibly make any official statements.

    The fact that the mine didn’t issue a cautionary statement after they found out about conflicting info is insane and inexcusable. I heard they had a problem getting physically to the church where the family was because of the public traffic, but they could have called their rep at the church and cautioned him to wait for further word. How difficult would that have been? Not too.

    The fact that they didn’t make any official previous statement is not the issue. The issue was that someone related to their operation made an erroneous call to the outside. Once the mine officials realized, this, it shouldn’t have mattered to them whether an “official” statement was made or not- what should have mattered to them was that people were celebrating, when they knew that it was premature to do so. And although WV folk are giving him a break because he may be popular, the Governor is just as guilty because he also knew at some point earlier ono that the info was incomplete and he should have shown leadership and taken it upon himself to issue a statement of caution to the public.

    Situations like this remind you how often you wonder how people in charge end up that way. It’s not that often for brains.

  82. 82
    jg says:

    If you look to the mass media for actual information this is what you get. The most recent ‘thing’ to be ‘known’. They gotta yell it or someone else will. Do you want to explain to your station owner why you waited and let CNN scoop you?

    Private industry will always do the bare minimum in terms of safety. Enough to protect the bottom line. They are not in the business of preserving our right to life and liberty and pursuit of happiness, just their own. The governments job is to ensure our health and safety is preserved and if you want to do business in this country you have to play by the governments rules. Its too bad we’re currently being run by ‘no central government’, ‘state’s rights rule all’, ‘an new conferderacy is born’ assholes. Same reason Georgie will NEVER do anything to, in any way, even slightly, suggest to a chemical plant owner to look into beefing up security. Won’t happen. But the next 9/11 will be blamed on Georgie not being able to spy on anyone he wants.

  83. 83
    John Cole says:

    Quoted without comment, John.

    Because if you did comment, you would look like an idiot. But go ahead, say it-

    “You are just as bad as Anderson Cooper and the MSM because you linked to the CNN report without checking the sources.”

    Because that is what you are implying, and we both know how stupid that comments is… as it isn’t my job to check the sources.

  84. 84

    […] More: Ed Morrissey calls it cruel Glenn Reynolds wonders about those gatekeepers John Cole recounts the whole story Gateway Pundit Kept watch Michelle Malkin and Pajamas Media have extensive round-ups […]

  85. 85
    scs says:

    Why should we blame the media? I watched the whole thing on TV last night. The media was just reporting what they saw. Come on. There were cheers in the church and people spilling out onto the street. Why should the media contradict what the families knew, who were presummably better connected to sources at the mine, when they had no information to the contrary? Blame the message, not the messenger,

  86. 86
    scs says:

    Sorry to change the subject here, but I’m a little suspicious of Sharon’s stroke. His second stroke in a week or so? And the rarer kind, hemmorage, not clots? I think it’s strange that Arafat also died the same way, by hemoraging, and in a strange way too. First he got ill, got better, and then after a week or so, hemmoraged again. I wonder if someone is not using some sort of high tech undetectable rat poison on these leaders, possibly Syria.

  87. 87
    p.lukasiak says:

    If we want to criticize the media on this story, lets start with the real problem…..

    the fact that a story about a mine explosion at 6:30 AM on Monday, and 13 lives at stake, had become the center of the “news” universe by midnight Tuesday.

    This wasn’t “journalism”, it was “reality television.” Tens of thousands of people die each day, many of them “tragically.” What made this story different was that it represented an exploitable opportunity for the cable news networks to suck people in with a compelling “life or death” narrative. It wasn’t news, it was infotainment.

    Don’t expect “the media” to get these kinds of stories right, because we’re not talking about journalism here. This is media, not journalism, and they’ve been offering a shoddy product that bears no relationship to “journalism” for years.

    Sure, we have the right to feel ripped off — just like the viewers of Dallas did when the producers decided that the only way to bring Bobby Ewing back to life was to declare that the entire previous season was a dream.

    But when you buy a product that you know is crap, well, Caveat Emptor, baby.

  88. 88
    robert lewis says:

    Yes, it was a tragedy, however, it was an eminently foreseeable tragedy. The mining operation had an abominable safety record, the Federal government does a shitty job of regulating mine safety, Geroge Bush just cut the budget for enforcing mine safty laws and the latest nominee for the Supreme Court,(surprise, surprise) thinks mining operations should be free to allow workers to work and die in unsafe conditions:

    In RNS Services, Inc. v. Secretary of Labor, 115 F.3d 182 (3rd Cir. 1997), the court found that a mining services company was violating safety laws under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act. The court rejected the company claim that it was not covered by mining safety laws, seeking to narrow application of the law to mines, not coal processing plants associated with such mines. Judge Alito’s dissent argued to exempt the facility from those mining safety regulations.

    Remind anyone of Katrina? Republicans have been so busy taking Jack Abramoff’s bribes and golfing trips to the Auld Course that they have had little time to attend to matters of governance.

  89. 89

    “(The media) have gotten most stories wrong for years, so why would anyone trust the first reports to come out of any disaster?”

    With all due respect, blanket condemnation based on a falsehood may make you feel better for having vented, but it’s really only static that does nothing to improve the situation.

  90. 90
    Where was Clinton and Hillary on Mine Safety? says:

    “The thing about regulatory oversight of businesses with health-safety implications for workers and the public under George W. Bush was covered well by Molly Ivins and Lou DuBose in their book, “Bushwhacked.””

    Ah, nice to know that the classic literary tome of our time – “Bushwacked” – written by an alleged “journalist” – now ranks up there with the great works of Shakespeare and Twain. I didn’t realize Ivans or DuBose (???) were such experts on mine safety. Gee, if that’s the case, then they bear some responsibility here as THEY should have DEMANDED that the mine be shut down!

  91. 91
    srv says:

    Sorry to change the subject here, but I’m a little suspicious of Sharon’s stroke. His second stroke in a week or so? And the rarer kind, hemmorage, not clots? I think it’s strange that Arafat also died the same way, by hemoraging, and in a strange way too. First he got ill, got better, and then after a week or so, hemmoraged again. I wonder if someone is not using some sort of high tech undetectable rat poison on these leaders, possibly Syria.

    Well, here’s praying it works. Now if they could just get Osama, we’d have a triple on terrorists.

  92. 92
    scs says:

    Well, here’s praying it works

    Well I think whoever is doing it is not doing it for “our side”, that’s the problem. Probably the same folks who blew up that guy in Lebanon.

  93. 93
    Pb says:

    P. Froward,

    Pardon me while I, too, state the obvious, but without your particular bias:

    You’re a condescending, partisan asshole.

    When you want to start having a real discussion, let me know.

  94. 94
    srv says:

    Probably the same folks who blew up that guy in Lebanon.

    Rafi Hariri. Billionaire friend of Chirac. Big contibuter to his campaigns.

    Not sure what Baathist Intelligence would get by offing Arafat, they like a weak PLO.

    Let’s see, who hated Yaser and is threatened by Ariel? Might look at extremists inside Israel first.

  95. 95
    scs says:

    Might look at extremists inside Israel first.

    Could be a possibility. Someone with inside access.

  96. 96
    Uberweiss says:

    I think that the 24/7 news media outlets(CNN/MSNBC) deserves most of the blame for the false information. They are just so hungry for tasty news bits that they run with a story without checking with officials. They could have talked to knowlegable folks or waited word from officials but that would not make good TV.

    I agree completely. All the 24/7 media outlets want to be the first to report “breaking news”. How many times have we seen them get information wrong because they jump the gun to get that information out before anybody else? It was irresponsible to report that information without first checking with the proper sources to make sure that the information was correct.

    But it was the responsibility of the mining company to have immediately corrected the misinformation as soon as they found out it was false. A simple statement saying that the company can not confirm the reports that the remaining 12 miners had survived would have sufficed, because it would have dampened the euphoria of the families.

    Also a very good point.

  97. 97
    ppGaz says:

    Why should we blame the media? I watched the whole thing on TV last night. The media was just reporting what they saw. Come on. There were cheers in the church and people spilling out onto the street. Why should the media contradict what the families knew, who were presummably better connected to sources at the mine, when they had no information to the contrary? Blame the message, not the messenger,

    Was that written by DougJ, or are you trying to be funny?

    And, are you related to John Cole?

    The two questions are not related to each other. The second one is a request for information. The first one is a rhetorical jab at your post, which was …. quite funny, actually. DougJ material.

  98. 98
    jg says:

    How many times have we seen them get information wrong because they jump the gun to get that information out before anybody else?

    I remember FOX News doing it a lot during the war. If someone farted in theatre an embed would report a strange smell and FOX would splash a ‘WMD FOUND’ graphic on screen.

    OK that never happened but they did jump to conclusion quite frequently. I think the guy in charge of graphics was a favorite nephew of Rupert Murdoch so they got his ‘work’ onscreen as often as possible.

  99. 99
    p.lukasiak says:

    just suppose…

    Instead of the families hearing false information that their loved ones were alive, the were falsely told they were dead. And the company knew that there was really no basis for that story.

    How long would it have taken the company to tell the families that 12 dead bodies hand NOT been discovered?

  100. 100
    jg says:

    How long would it have taken the company to tell the families that 12 dead bodies hand NOT been discovered?

    A lot less time. That’s a report people would be lining up to correct. Personally I wouldn’t want to be the one who went to the church and said sorry but you all just reacted to bad info. That messenger would be shot, hanged, drawn and quartered.

  101. 101
    Krista says:

    The media is just returning to the “yellow journalism” at it’s roots.

    I agree — I think that the advent of 24-hour news really screwed things up royally. Prior to that, we had our regular evening news, indicating what had happened that day. If something major happened outside of broadcast time, there would be a special bulletin. But there was not this constant, nonstop yammering of opinion, speculation, barely veiled rumour and pop psychoanalysis. They’ve got to fill the 24 hours with SOMETHING, even if nothing’s happened, so they fill it with utter shite.

  102. 102
    Steve says:

    I agree that it would be very, very hard to walk into a church where dozens of relatives are happily celebrating just to pass the message that “those reports aren’t confirmed yet, FYI.” The temptation certainly exists to just keep your mouth shut and hope the rumor turns out to be true. But I just feel for those families and I really wish the company had said something.

    One thing that was unclear to me. According to news reports, Hatfield said it was clear to him after about 20 minutes that the rumor wasn’t accurate (it was 3 hours before they found out the truth and reported it). Now, did he mean that after 20 minutes he knew it was just an unconfirmed rumor, or did he mean that he knew for a fact the 12 miners had NOT been located? If the latter, it’s almost inexcusable not to say something.

  103. 103
    jg says:

    I agree that it would be very, very hard to walk into a church where dozens of relatives are happily celebrating just to pass the message that “those reports aren’t confirmed yet, FYI.” The temptation certainly exists to just keep your mouth shut and hope the rumor turns out to be true. But I just feel for those families and I really wish the company had said something.

    I agree. I just wouldn’t want to be the guy.

  104. 104
    The Other Steve says:

    Because that is what you are implying, and we both know how stupid that comments is… as it isn’t my job to check the sources.

    Honestly that comment isn’t stupid. You have no moral authority to question the MSM, because you repeated the same false story without checking it’s validity. That’s the point, which you obviously missed.

    Frankly, I don’t hold any contempt for the media on this. I hold no contempt for anyone. Mistakes happen. False hopes are easily fed, and while it’s extremely disappointing I can see exactly how this chain of events occured and I believe everybody thought they were being helpful even if in the end they were not.

    I just find it curious to watch the Open Sores Whores pounding their chests, when they fell for the same trap.

  105. 105
    John Cole says:

    You have no moral authority to question the MSM, because you repeated the same false story without checking it’s validity. That’s the point, which you obviously missed.

    Groan.

  106. 106
    Krista says:

    I think that this whole saga has been the proverbial straw for me. No more 24 hour news channels for me. I’m taking them off my satellite programming. I doubt it’ll make any difference to them, as many people still thirstily drink the swill that they pump out, but it’ll make an enormous difference in my blood pressure.

  107. 107
    kcom says:

    “Sorry to change the subject here, but I’m a little suspicious of Sharon’s stroke. His second stroke in a week or so? And the rarer kind, hemmorage, not clots? I think it’s strange that Arafat also died the same way, by hemoraging, and in a strange way too. First he got ill, got better, and then after a week or so, hemmoraged again. I wonder if someone is not using some sort of high tech undetectable rat poison on these leaders, possibly Syria.”

    Have you considered the fact that the treatment for a clotting problem is an anti-clotting agent? It’s a delicate balance between clotting too much and clotting too little. The news articles said he was being given an anti-clotting agent in preparation for his scheduled surgery.

  108. 108
    ppGaz says:

    For our money, we get a standard distribution curve with lot of mines of roughly average safety in the middle (lefties: the average doesn’t end up in the middle because of a conspiracy), a few relatively safer mines at the top, and a few relatively unsafe mines at the bottom. But you don’t get perfection. In very rough terms, you spend N dollars, pass N laws, and fix 80% of the problem. Now, if you double the amount of money you spend on mine safety, and if you double the number of laws about it, you’ll fix maybe 80% of what’s left. Then you double the dollars

    On the small chance that your diatribe isn’t a spoof, and that you’re serious …..

    Your description fails on a single fact: The $60 fine.

    Here’s a mine, whose daily operation costs tens of thousands of dollars. Here’s a safety violation that puts everyone who goes into that mine at risk. Here’s the action taken: A sixty dollar fine.

    The message is clear: We pay lip service to mine safety, we wink at the extreme end of the bell curve, we are a mockery of a regulating agency. We’re keeping the miners safe, wink wink.

    If we were serious about it, we’d fine the motherfuckers sixty THOUSAND dollars the first time, and a hundred and tweny thousand the next time, and we’d close the damned mine the third time. Any hot dog stand with a health inspection record as bad as that mine’s would have been shut down a long time ago.

    There was no excuse for imposing sixty dollar fines and then hiring lying cocksuckers like you to write a PR brochure saying that we’re doing our jobs.

  109. 109
    maybee says:

    But it was the responsibility of the mining company to have immediately corrected the misinformation as soon as they found out it was false. A simple statement saying that the company can not confirm the reports that the remaining 12 miners had survived would have sufficed, because it would have dampened the euphoria of the families.

    Also a very good point.

    A fair point, but the mining company is in the business of mining, and was in the act of rescuing miners. The media is in the business of communication, and was in the act of reporting. They had no other responsibility during that time than to get the story out–correctly.

    If CNN would admit its mistake in its own coverage, I could tolerate their attempts to blame ‘someone’ for the misinformation and their demands for accountability(from someone else).

    I guess controlling the information outlet means never having to say you’re sorry.

  110. 110
    Krista says:

    ppGaz – exactly. Why on earth would they bother upgrading and improving their safety? It would cost a flying hell of a lot more than just paying the fines. Make the fines a lot higher, and give them some sort of tax incentive for money spent on safety upgrades. Make it worth their while. (Yes, I know that protecting the lives of their workers should already be “worth their while”, but that’s not how corporations work, evidently.)

  111. 111
    Sojourner says:

    Once, just once, I would love for a Repub to verbalize what they really believe – that the loss of a few working class schmucks is worth the cost of cheaper energy.

    And spare me the bullshit about politicizing this tragedy. You may think I’m stupid enough to be silenced by that accusation but I’m not.

  112. 112
    scs says:

    PPGaz, I’ve just resolved to ignore you in my infrequent posts here. I realize you might still not have all your faculties left. Are you related to BTK by the way? When I read what you write, I somehow picture his face.

  113. 113
    scs says:

    And to repeat my point, although I don’t know why I bother, if you have a group of people, who have direct access to the rescuers, celebrating, and you have the governor come out of the church with two thumbs up and a big smile on his face saying “Miracles do happen!”, and you have no information to the contrary, why should the media not report what they see? It would be irresponsbile not to. Just the celebrating in the church itself was a newsworthy event, as the media would have to report on the impact of any true or false rumors on the victims. Of course anything they report should have been accompanied by the correct qualifiers, “we hear unconfirmed reports”, “it has been reported by unofficial sources” etc., until they hear official news.

  114. 114
    ppGaz says:

    PPGaz, I’ve just resolved to ignore you in my infrequent posts here.

    Be that as it may, I’d like to know whether you are a relative of John Cole.

    If you won’t answer, maybe John will?

  115. 115

    […] Mining Tragedy: John Cole is only a few miles from the site, and he writes about some of the insider stuff here, plus updates. […]

  116. 116
    scs says:

    I’m 17 and I’m John Cole’s siamese twin. Are you happy now?

  117. 117
    ppGaz says:

    I’m 17 and I’m John Cole’s siamese twin

    Fine. Your answer is that you won’t answer the question, “Are you a relative of John Cole?”

    That’s an answer in itself.

  118. 118
    scs says:

    Why, would you treat me with more respect if I were?

  119. 119
    ppGaz says:

    Why, would you treat me with more respect if I were?

    I’ll treat you whatever way your posts make appropriate, as I have done so far.

    I think you’re a nasty troll masquerading as something else, and I don’t like you.

  120. 120
    John Cole says:

    Everyone play nice.

    SCS is not related to me, but is quite nice if the casual conversations we have had are any indication. You two probably just rub each other the wrong way.

  121. 121
    Sojourner says:

    I think you’re a nasty troll masquerading as something else, and I don’t like you.

    She has her moments. Like the time she tried to argue that John Gibson was arguing that Christians needed to be more tolerant of other religions. This in spite of the fact that he’s making money off of a book on the “war” against Christmas.

    I’m not sure even a troll would attempt that argument.

  122. 122

    We think Geraldo might have had a little to do with it…

  123. 123
    HH says:

    Personally, I blame Bush. And Abramoff. And Rove and Delay and Halliburton.

  124. 124
    ppGaz says:

    SCS is not related to me.

    Thanks for the info.

    You two probably just rub each other the wrong way.

    Don’t get me started.

  125. 125
    scs says:

    but is quite nice if the casual conversations we have had are any indication.

    Thanks John. That was nice, I guess. I don’t know how these rumors get started on here – I think they are all pretty funny though.

  126. 126
    p.lukasiak says:

    Don’t get me started.

    I guess me and scs should tag team you….that way, you might reach some kind of equilibrium :)

  127. 127
    scs says:

    GIBSON: No, no, no. If you figure that—listen, we get a little theological here, and it’s probably a bit over my head, but I would think if somebody is going to be—have to answer for following the wrong religion, they’re not going to have to answer to me. We know who they’re going to have to answer to.

    PARSHALL: Right.

    GIBSON: And that’s fine. Let ‘em. But in the meantime, as long as they’re civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble, and I think most Americans are fine with that tradition.

    Like the time she tried to argue that John Gibson was arguing that Christians needed to be more tolerant of other religions

    I mreely repeated what the guy said Sojourner. Unlike you, who likes to makes things up and then call others liars.

  128. 128
    scs says:

    You two probably just rub each other the wrong way.

    Yeah, ppGaz, you remind me of some old bitter guy I used to work with, who used to go out of his way to get me in trouble, even though I started out being nothing but nice to him. Bullies never like me because I don’t kiss up to them.

  129. 129
    ppGaz says:

    guess me and scs should tag team you….

    Knock yourself out.

  130. 130
    Sojourner says:

    I mreely repeated what the guy said Sojourner. Unlike you, who likes to makes things up and then call others liars.

    Funny, funny girl.

  131. 131
    ppGaz says:

    Bullies never like me because I don’t kiss up to them.

    I don’t like you because you’re dishonest, and an idiot. You say dumb and ignorant things and then act hurt when you get called on your bullshit. You’re the worst combination of strong opinions and very little knowledge. And for a long time, you wouldn’t even state your actual opinions because you were afraid to stand up for them.

    Other than that, I think you’re a nasty troll, and I don’t like you.

    John’s never had a “casual conversation” with me. If he did, he’d find out that I am not only a lot nicer than you are, I’m also a hell of a lot more interesting.

  132. 132
    scs says:

    John’s never had a “casual conversation” with me. If he did, he’d find out that I am not only a lot nicer than you are, I’m also a hell of a lot more interesting

    .

    You’re right. I’ll graciously step aside so you two can explore your connection.

  133. 133
    scs says:

    Other than that, I think you’re a nasty troll, and I don’t like you.

    PpGaz, you and Mother Theresa. I can’t decide WHO is nicer!

  134. 134
    ppGaz says:

    PpGaz, you and Mother Theresa. I can’t decide WHO is nicer!

    Do what you always do. Come to a conclusion first, and get information later.

  135. 135
    ppGaz says:

    I’ll graciously step

    Promises, promises.

    Whenver you say you are going to do something, you do exactly the opposite.

  136. 136
    Devon Cole says:

    As I am watching the latest Bowl game. “Go USC”. I have read through the 100+ some previous posts and have the following observations/comments/rants for what they are worth:

    The Media-while human-is RESPONSIBLE for checking their Facts. I was disturbed to see the number of false headlines puked throughout the world this morning. Not just because this hit close to home but BECAUSE it hit so close to home and has made it so overwhelmingly clear to me how readily I accept what is reported as the truth. I am repulsed by my naivete thus far. Ignorance is not bliss. However, I kind of wish I hadn’t seen the elation on the families of the miner’s faces- and yet in the same breath I feel an obligation to share in their sorrow- the very least I can do is grieve with them. And never believe a damn thing I read in the media.

    About those mines. It is a pretty common way to make a living around where I grew up. It’s an honest living and a lot of the kids I grew up with were raised on the paychecks of miners. If I have learned anything about this tragedy-I will not bitch about my gas bill because I am not dropping into the ground at insane depths to dig for any sort of fossil fuel. Enough said. Except perhaps thinking more seriously about mining and some of the even more superficial reasons that perpetuate it. Like DIAMONDS. Sierra Leone/DeBEERS-“A diamond is forever”. It is disturbing. Read up on it.

    What the hell is wrong with the mines in W.VA. for FUCK’S SAKE. Can we give the miner’s emergency oxygen that will last at least 24 hours? Especially of it is going to take 11 hours (Can I BELIEVE that report?) for the rescue crews to show up. Pardon the outburst of rage.

    Scs-Who are you? I am John’s little sister and I don’t know who you are (if you are in fact related)…

  137. 137
    scs says:

    ScsWho are you? I am John’s little sister and I don’t know who you are (if you are in fact related)…

    Who are you? I am John’s little sister. And his wife. It IS W. Virginnia after all!

    KIDDING! Sorry lame joke.

  138. 138
    ppGaz says:

    I am John’s little sister. And his wife. It IS W. Virginnia after all!

    Good lord, you actually said something funny.

    Who wrote it for you?

  139. 139
    scs says:

    Actually my goal is to go W. Va. someday. I’ve seen a little of the hills in Pa near Pittsburgh and they are crazy. You get sea sickness driving through them. I’d like to see more of them in W. Va.

  140. 140
    ppGaz says:

    Good lord again! I turned the channel when it looked for sure that Texas was beaten. Now I find …. 41 -38 horns!

    I should have known better than to count out Texas in this game.

    19 seconds left.

  141. 141
    ppGaz says:

    I love the Pittsburgh area. I’d live there if I could get the right situation, and if the missus would agree to it.

  142. 142
    scs says:

    Party at John’s house!

  143. 143

    I think that the coverage of this story exemplifies how much of the media has degenerated into merely narrating events and passing along rumor & spin (thanks a lot cable news nets) instead of their proper role of reporting the news and investigating incidents.

  144. 144
    Krista says:

    If he did, he’d find out that I am not only a lot nicer than you are, I’m also a hell of a lot more interesting.

    And infinitely more modest, eh?

    ppGaz hon, if you were a pro wrestler, you’d be the Curmudgeon Bludgeon. ;)

  145. 145
    ppGaz says:

    ppGaz hon, if you were a pro wrestler, you’d be the Curmudgeon Bludgeon

    Should I go with the long hair, or the shaved head look?

  146. 146
    Krista says:

    Shaved head, definitely. An interesting facial scar would also be good.

  147. 147
    ppGaz says:

    Following up on an exchange between me and Don Surber upthread ….

    MHSA up to the task? We report, you decide

    Could MHSA be yet another example of a government agency that can’t find its ass with both hands?

  148. 148
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Go old school – Mullet with Rat-tail. Plus, you have to carry a two-by-four and an American flag.

  149. 149
    Krista says:

    I don’t trust any government agency to find its ass with both hands and a flashlight. And before the pro-corporation types leap on that, I trust corporations even less, because while they may not find their own ass, they seem to find everybody else’s, and have no compunctions about plundering said asses.

    I’m just a cynical, cynical person. I trust people, but not groups of people. And the bigger the group, the less I trust them.

  150. 150
    demimondian says:

    Nah, Krista. A facial scar would make ppG’s perpetual sneer look like it wasn’t a reflection of the real man.

  151. 151
    Krista says:

    I don’t think of him as sneering. He strikes me as more of a scowler, with the odd “harrumph” thrown in for good measure. :)

  152. 152
    demimondian says:

    You might be right — maybe I’m just projecting. ;)

  153. 153
    ppGaz says:

    Okay, the truth needs to come out. I’m actually a 17-year-old girl.

    Don’t like it? Fuck you.

  154. 154
    Krista says:

    With an 8-month old grandchild? Impressive…

  155. 155
    ppGaz says:

    Whoops. Didn’t think of that.

    Well, my new persona was fun while it lasted.

  156. 156
    Krista says:

    Being a 17-year old girl is always fun while it lasts.

  157. 157
    ppGaz says:

    Being a 17-year old girl is always fun while it lasts.

    I’ll bet.

    My favorite age was ten. Ten was the best.

  158. 158
    Krista says:

    10 was my worst year, but for non-typical reasons. My best friend at the time was killed in the Air India crash right after we finished Grade 4. Up until that, though…yeah 10 was cool. Playing ’till the streetlights came on. Giggling about boys, but still young enough to play with Barbies, and old enough to go trick-or-treating sans adults. I kind of feel bad for a lot of kids today — they seem to be expected to grow up so damned fast.

  159. 159

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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