Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The three hour gap

Not since 9/11 have I been so emotionally engaged in a news story.

For the past couple days I was mostly ignoring the news of the miners trapped in the mine. It seemed like a story I'd seen a dozen times before, and always somehow ending in survivors being pulled to safety.

I gained a bit of morbid interest later on Tuesday evening when they discovered that one miner had been found dead... obviously a bad sign for the fate of the remaining 12 men.

So, I was happily surprised as I watched Anderson Cooper being told that there were "12 Alive... 12 Alive", and the survivors families were rejoicing and celebrating nearby. As I scanned online news sites I found a number of headlines repeating the same news.

Three hours later, though, again Anderson Cooper was interrupted by a family, live on TV, telling him that the reports were wrong, the coal mine owners had lied... there was only one survivor. The remaining eleven miners had been found dead.

In the meantime, newspapers have gone to print reporting of a miracle that never happened... the first major soundbyte and news quote, "12 Alive", a total inaccuracy.

Unfortunately, now the news isn't about the tragedy of 12 men being killed in the mine disaster and one lucky survivor. The focus is now on the three hours where the mine owners withheld notifying the families and and citizens of Upshur County, as well as the entire world.

No real commentary to add... just a horrible story to see unfold overnight.