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Like Bush, Cavuto Protects Mining Companies & Shafts American Workers

Reported by Melanie - January 5, 2006

Today (January 5, 2006), Fox used its "business news" program, Your World w/Neil Cavuto, to rehabilitate the International Coal Group (ICG), the owner of the Sago mine in which 12 miners died earlier this week. The three (yes, three) segments devoted to the issue were decidedly pro-corporation and brutally anti-worker. (Think anti-viewer, but they keep watching anyway.)

The first portion consisted of a two-segment interview with Wilbur Ross, the owner of ICG. Ross spent the time pleading innocence, pointing out that he just bought the mine, that he is extraordinarily concerned about safety, that this has been the worst week of his professional life, and that his company has set up a fund to assist the families of the deceased miners.

Next came "famed" defense attorney Lauren Lake to answer the question posed in a chyron while Cavuto introduced her: "Can Coal Mining Families Sue for Miscommunication?" (Notice that despite the huge number of issues, companies, and regulatory agencies potentially involved in a lawsuit surrounding the incident, Fox shrunk that into the innocent-sounding, "miscommunication." The message: it sure would be unreasonable for the families to sue for "miscommunication" now, wouldn't it?)

During the segment with Lake, Cavuto, someone who is unfailingly pro-corporation and believes corporations should be entirely unregulated, and unquestioned, because they are the lifeblood of this country, advocated on behalf of Wilbur Ross. Here are the questions he asked Lake, with a brief summary of Lake's answer following,

We did have extenuating circumstances here.

But two hours!

The company Chairman was here before, saying look, someone let the cat out of the bag. It wasn't a company person [who told the families 12 miners had survived]. It was these people who were told not to saying anything, got a cell phone, said something. How is the company culpable for that?

"Why two hours and 40-some minutes? That's the problem."

So you think the company is paying out a lot of lawsuits?

Yes.

All right, but the company is claiming, and you just heard the representative here, the chairman. Look, I mean, inspectors went to the site several times. They had the power to shut it down. The inspector's inspector had the power to shut it down. The state and federal authorities had the power to shut it down. Never did.

"With 208 violations going on - 18 of which are what we call very serious, is what I've read, it is problematic."

Again, those roof collapses though, there were, you'd think, I don't know how mining goes, but I would think a roof collapse is a big deal. I'm told that inspectors looking at that say it's not a big deal and that it doesn't warrant shutting down a mine.

If it is "any way related" to the violations, "they're in trouble."

So it would involve the company, the parent company, extenuating company? It could go far?

"Yes."

What about suing the government?

"If it should have been shut down and it was not, here we go."

What about the argument that you're in a dangerous profession, dangerous things happen. The responsibility argument?

"In this situation, I don't think this is going to work out."

But, don't miners know? They're trained for dire situations like this, as were these guys, sadly.

With these violations "on the table, they're going to have a hard time."

Well, if you're right, it might be in the company's interest, don't even go to trial, just start trying to settle now.

"And that is always an option."

What do you predict will happen?

The company should "start keeping their checkbook on the desk."

What have we had in prior disasters where people have lost their lives in mines? Millions?

Millions.

Repeatedly during the segment, Fox showed a chyron containing the telephone number of the relief fund set up by the company, though it wasn't identified as such: "Sago Relief Fund. 1-800-811-0441."

Comment: Interestingly, yesterday on Your World's website, there was a poll (it's gone now) asking readers whether the families should be allowed to sue. The vote was something like 87% no, 13% yes. I got the feeling that Fox was trying to get a sense of what line they could push, and what line they couldn't. Bolstered by the poll results, Cavuto obviously felt free to advocate on behalf of the corporation, which he clearly did today. What breaks my heart is the thought of the miners' families watching Fox, and of working families everywhere being brainwashed into thinking that corporations do no wrong. Americans are being sent the message that corporations only make "mistakes" ( like "miscommunication"), or have "accidents," and that they and the government would never intentionally do anything to harm them, which is clearly not the case.


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