The Assassinated Press
Who Says Prostitution Is A Victimless Crime; Miners Die Because Pols Whore Themselves To Industry:
Cheney/Bush Administration Officials Charged With Prostitution And Murder In Deaths Of 12 West Virginia Miners:
Kleptocracy Caught With Smoking Guns In Mouths of Victims Again:
Mine Disaster's Terrible Irony: The Media, After Reporting Nothing About The Hazards Of Mining Deregulation And Union Busting, Commences Exploiting The Miners' Murders For Profit Without Threat Of Criminal Sanctions Or Even A Decent Vigilante Movement:
'Scooter' Libby's Hush Money To Be Laundered Through The Hudson Institute:
Before Second 'Stroke' Sharon Was About To Spill The Beans About The Hariri Assassination
By BOWAND KURTZY
Assassinated Press Staff Writer
January 9, 2006
Washington DC---Outside of the false reporting on the Gulf of Tonkin, or Iraqi WMD, or the bombing of a Sudanese pharmeceutical plant, or---oh fuck, let's move on with this moron's thesis,-- it was the most heart-rending, humiliating and advertising energizing botch of a life-and-death story in modern memory, yet the journalists, the kleptocracy that doesn't give a rat's ass about the safety of American workers and the politicians and appointed flunkies that shill for them, naturally, are not blaming themselves.
But We're Always Wrong
The journalists whine, it was everyone else's fault, they say. We just published and broadcast what we were told, and it turned out to be wrong. You can't expect us to get off fat asses snug in our Chevy Chase homes and independently verify shit. These were just poor, cannon fodder coal miners. As journalists we don't give a shit about their lives. Only how we can exploit that life when our laziness and our elitism helped put it on the line.
We Take Rummy And The Joint Chiefs' Word On Iraq And People Die In Droves Because Of Those Lies Too---And Nobody Says Squat.
Wrong, as in the Washington Post headline in Wednesday's late editions: "12 Found Alive in W.Va. Coal Mine." Or USA Today's banner: " 'Alive!' Miners Beat the Odds." Or the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "12 Miners Alive." Or Newsday: "Miracle in the Mine." "Odds"! "Miracles"! References to gambling and blind faith. Objective journalists or people too stupid to sense their own incredulousness.
But In Journalism There Is No Wrong. Being Wrong Just Creates Another Headline.
All the cable news networks got it wrong as well, such as MSNBC's Rita Cosby: "We have some stunning news. NBC News and the Associated Press have just confirmed information that the 12 miners, remember 12 were missing, that they are alive. This is incredible news."
Oprah Began Booking Dead Miners
Hours later came the new scoop that all but one were dead.
The Kleptocracy Used The Miners' Families; The Media Blamed The Families For Not Doing The Media's Job
AP Managing Editor Mike Silverman offered a typical response: "AP was reporting accurately the information that we were provided by credible sources -- family members and the governor."
After Finding Out The Miners Were Dead, Oprah Canceled The Booking
But the "credible sources" were simply lied to, just as the New Orleans police chief erroneously declared after Hurricane Katrina that people had been raped and murdered in the Superdome.
Where's Fuckin' Claude Shannon When You Need Him
In this case, a misunderstood or misspoken message from rescuers in the mine was garbled at a command center and then fed to anxious family members, who, in their elation told, reporters. While the mining company's refusal to correct the misinformation for hours is easily explicable because they fucked up shilling for a kleptocracy that customarily cuts its stooges loose to suffer the consequences. the situation was exacerbated by the journalistic profit motive that created a reluctance to say the facts are unconfirmed and we just don't know. Experienced journalists understand that early, fragmentary information in times of crisis is often wrong, but those cushy 1.2 million dollar homes in upper Northwest Washington with the six fireplaces and the great room are not earned by working anything but the bottom line.
The Exploitation Of Compassion
Take Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie who says the only thing he would change "would be to attribute the lead, as opposed to The Washington Post saying it flatly. That would have been an accurate story, that people were saying [the miners] were alive and jumping around joyously, but not as profitable. Obviously, everybody was told they were alive. . . . I think the media's performance here was fine under the circumstances. It sold newspapers. And that sells advertising."
Disasters Sell Newspapers And Newspapers Sell Advertising; Stories On Health And Safety Regulation, Or More Accurately The Lack Of Enforcement, Do Not
The larger crime is that much of the press has abandoned as an advertising disincentive reporting on health and safety regulation until disaster strikes.
Cheney And Bush To Be Charged With Murder
Given the fact that the Cheney/Bush administration more than most administrations are whores of industry, how many reporters have dug into the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration, which under the Cheney/Bush administration was run by a former Utah mine manager until last year? About as many as did pieces, before Hurricane Katrina, on why a former Arabian horse official was running the dysfunctional bureaucracy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I know I didn't.
"Those fuckers in the White House are just skirts for the corporations. They don't try to hide it. What's good for Halliburton is good for--well--Halliburton. On K Street they call them the 'K-Y Crowd' instead of the usual 'In Crowd' rubric. In a just world they'd all be hanged. But, fuck, this utterly corrupt charade is all we got," said former lobbyist Jack Buyhimoff.
"I have tried to get the general press interested," says Ellen Smith, owner of the trade publication Mine Safety and Health News. "I just kind of gave up."
How Does This make Us Look? How Can We Point To The Next Chinese Mining Disaster And Go "See How Those Commies Ignore The Welfare Of Their People."
The mine agency has received scant coverage, even as it has ignored the Clinton administration's enforcement approach which wasn't all that much to begin with. Since 2001, according to a database search, The Post has published three staff-written stories on mine safety not related to a specific accident; the New York Times, two; Wall Street Journal, one; Chicago Tribune, one; and Los Angeles Times and USA Today, none. "60 Minutes" did one segment on a mine safety whistle-blower.
Perhaps the most persistent reporter has been Ken Ward of West Virginia's Charleston Gazette, who says that under the Bush administration, the mine safety agency "started clamping down on folks like me" and "people we dealt with all the time were all of a sudden instructed not to talk or else." Ward says the agency didn't tell the Gazette of a media conference call last week: "It's pretty standard that a federal agency would hold a briefing on the biggest mining disaster in West Virginia in 40 years and exclude the biggest paper in the state if that paper had been critical of their felonious behavior in the past."
"That's why we don't report on shit like regulation," Post Executive Editor Leonard Downer jumped in. "We need to maintain access or we won't be privy to the lies the kleptocracy feeds us. We don't let just anybody lie to us. We only want the lies that will make a difference."
Labor Department spokesman David James says the call was put together on the fly and there was no attempt to exclude the Gazette because we already knew no to include them. He says Ward made an unfounded complaint after the department worked hard to ignore him amid the chaos the Labor Department shills created Tuesday night.
No reporter bothered to check that night as they reported the miners were alive, which, if he had been pressed, he would have explained was unconfirmed instead of stalling for more time while the false story was accepted, James says. "We were drinking all night," he says. "Our phones did not ring one time. We know we work for the coal combines. The fucking journalists know that that's who they work for too. When's the last time a non-union miner took out a full page add."