Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Twelve of the 13 West Virginia miners died in the accident. The American media (which loved patting itself on the back after Hurricane Katrina) did America and, especially, the miners' families a great disservice by prematurely reporting that the men got out alive.

Family members react after being given erroneous information from media that loved ones were found alive*

Sad. Demoralizing. Infuriating.

Only one of the 12 trapped miners found in a US coal mine on Wednesday has survived, reports from the US say. CNN said only one man - critically ill and rushed to hospital - had been found alive by rescuers, just hours after news all had been found safe.

Here are some of the erroneous reports from earlier in the evening.

1) CNN: "Twelve miners found alive, families told"
2) NYTimes: "Family members and a state official said that 12 of the miners had been found alive Tuesday night." "It's a miracle," said Loretta Ables, who said her fiancé, Fred Ware, was among the survivors. "Everyone was telling us they were probably dead."

Here is the truth

BBC NEWS | Americas | Only one US miner reported alive

CNN had the news up at 3:14am. The Galvin Opinion relayed the news at 3:15am. The New York Times allowed its flawed story to remain on its website for a while and did not post the true story of the mining tragedy until 3:40am.

The media will probably not end up as the only ones to blame. If anyone working in an official capacity announced "good news" without really knowing the answer then they were irresponsible. But, it is incumbent upon the national media as disseminators of the information to provide airtight, accurate news. Capitalizing on peoples emotions in order to garner the "scoop" or "exclusive" is despicable.

Does it take a blogger to remind professional "journalists" how to do their job? 1) If you get one source, make sure you obtain another to confirm your information. 2) If you're working on a big story, make sure you have at least 3 or 4 sources to lock down the important news.

How much you want to bet that Katie Couric, her bookers and all other television vultures were already manning the phones, clamoring for family members by plying them with "incentives" in order to ask them goofy questions on Wednesday's breakfast shows?

Other blogs weighing in: Michelle Malkin, Belmont Club, Q and O, Indepundit, Beth of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy weighs in, Jawa Report, Captains Quarters and California Conservative.

*Due to a commenter's good point here is the original capion to the photo, "Crystal Neeling and Darline Graves celebrate at Sago Baptist Church Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006 in Tallmansville, W. Va. after hearing the report indicating the miners are alive. Graves is sister in law of trapped miner Jerry Graves and Neeling is his niece." But it appears to me that they are reacting based on a media "report."


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