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Thursday, January 05, 2006

West Virginia Miners

--posted by Tony Garcia on 1/05/2006

(H/T: Impacted Wisdom Truth)

The Anchoress has a must read post about the West Virginia ordeal.
Journalism used to run on facts. It wasn’t enough to have a rumor, you had to nail it down; it wasn’t enough to suspect something - if you suspected it, you expended the shoe leather to prove it. Now, unfortunately, beginning at least with Mary Mapes’ odd idea that the the standard of journalism precludes proving one’s charge (it is now enough that the charge is made, and the accused must prove a negative), but particularly since Hurricane Katrina, mainstream journalism has decided it doesn’t need to run on facts; emotionalism is the new fuel on which the press is running, and it is a bad, bad gas - it sputters and sprays and belches out errors all over the airways, all through the ink barrels, and once the errors are out there, they become either (in a best-case scenario) tough narratives to reclaim or (in the cruelest case) weapons of devastation and destruction.
Now who is to blame for the incorrect story being reported? I have heard so many targets of blame. The media, the company, the rumors, the governor...who is to blame?

First we need to understand that the company did NOT tell anyone that people were alive. That information was given in an unauthorized manner...in otherwords leaked...and was never confirmed. So you cannot blame the company.

Next let's look at the governor. From what I have heard the governor continued to express that the reports of live miners had not been confirmed. Some blame for even mentioning this...politicians know better than to speak things they have not confirmed.

The family very likely spread the word around like wildfire. Hard to blame them though it is irresponsible to ignore their impact on the situation. They misled themselves and that is their fault. But they own no blame for the nationwide debacle of reporting.

The media. Ah, that is where all of the blame should go nationally. They are trained to verify. They know that they are NOT to report (at least report as fact) information from OVERHEARD conversations. They know that information should not be relayed UNLESS they get it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. The responsible thing would have be to report, as KSTP Channel 5 did, that the families are relaying miners are alive. Where is the caveat? Where was the jounalistic cynicism?

In the race to be the first to say anything the media AGAIN burned themselves. You would think that after the 2000 elections they would have learned their lesson about jumping onto unconfirmed information. You would think after Rather's career-damaging debacle they would have taken some notice about single sources of unknown credibility to know such information.

Now the reason I think this is an example of media bias is that they have yet to apologize for their role. They like this "immersive" reporting, they are a PART of the story...but then they act as if they had no part of the story when they get it wrong.

Since they found out their story was initially wrong they should have apologized profusely. Today's front page should have had the apology on it (above the fold, btw). They did not do their job of vetting through the information and giving the public ONLY what was fact. The rumors they reported on did not have the disclaimers like, "the rumor going around" or "the families are reporting"...they should have made it clear that they were not reporting a confirmed fact. They failed.

But this mistake or failure is to be forgiven, even ignored or at least dismissed. Now if this were the Bush Administration (who I have no doubt WILL be blamed by the media and the Left in the long run for this) that gave the wrong information we know what the story today would be. "Bush Lied." As IWT intimated...this is no different from "Faulty Intelligence".

Yet these incompetent "reporters" fail the public in this other regard: they are failing to report the similarity in how their intelligence led them astray and it is not their fault, thus a correction to the criticism Bush has been receiving. Bush after all acted on the faulty intelligence. The media acted and disseminated.

********** UPDATE **********
I told you the mine accident would be tied to the phrase "Bush's fault". The Anchoress reports:
Overplaying and overextending. Again. My personal opinion is that the left and the press had reached their pinnacle of effectiveness with “Everything is Bush’s fault” back ’round the Katrina disaster. Expose an idea too much, and it begins to fall on deaf ears, as the GOP learned when they overdid when moving against Bill Clinton. The “blame Bush” meme is going to jump the shark, very soon. This absurdity might be the catalyst for the jump.
and links to Red State who states:
From the AFL-CIO's own webpage, the beef that they have is with the diminishment of MSHA personnel in positions in full-time equivalents (FTE) - the budgetary amount has actually increased by an average of over .9% annually, in real 2000 (adjusted for inflation) dollars. This misleading chart would lead one to believe that when Clinton was in office, the MSHA was thriving and growing bureacracy, from the standpoint of inspection and enforcement staff. However, the MSHA issued a press release with their budget request on March 4, 1998 which tells a very different story.
Have they already blamed the Holocaust on Bush, or is that the charge later this year?


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