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Not The Whole Story On Big Story

Reported by Deborah - August 19, 2007 -

Guest Blogged by Pricilla

Fox is very selective when it comes to stories that are “big” and the Utah mining collapse is one story that, while considered big, is not being examined in a big way. Last night’s (August 18th) Big Story had an update on what was happening with the mine rescue efforts which is a big story; but Fox is covering only part of it.

Julie began the segment by informing us that the rescue crews completed drilling the fourth hole. In her customary syntax mangling, she said “as you know, the search for six missing miners has been called off immediately after these three miners were killed being pulled out of there trying to help these guys.” She then went to Adam Housley who explained what the hole would be used for. Julie asked how the families were dealing with the situation and he said that they were staying away from the press. Julie then went on to Michael Vick, Hurricane Dean, a child abuse case and no politics.

If this show were truly about “big stories” then the “journalist” moderator would include the growing skepticism about why anyone, including rescuers, was allowed into an unsafe mine. Yesterday, Congressional Representatives, George Miller and Lynn Woolsey (both democrats from California) announced that they will hold hearings regarding the questions being raised about this mine and the greater issue of mine safety. Not mentioned in Fox’s coverage of the mining disaster is the fact that Richard Stickler, Bush’s recess appointed head of Mine Safety and Health Administration, is a former Murray Energy executive who believes that there is no need for additional mine safety regulations. Not mentioned in the coverage is that Murray Energy has incurred millions of dollars in fines for safety violations in the last eighteen months. Not mentioned is that Bob Murray is just not your average hard hat miner; but a major donor to the Republican Party and “brandished that clout in 2003, threatening the job of MSHA district manager Tim Thompson, who ordered him to shut down one of his Ohio operations."I will have your jobs," he said. And in fact, Thompson was transferred to another office and retired in 2006.” (Comment: can you imagine Fox’s outrage if a democratic donor had acted with such insolence!) Crandall Mine has, since 2004 been cited for labor violations 324 times by the Labor Department, 107 of the violations serious. And rather than taking responsibility for what could be safety violations that might have caused this disaster, Murray used a press conference to strike out at those who believe in global warming.

Comment: So rather than do a real “big story” on what are important aspects to the story, Julie chose to maintain the Fox narrative that big business is sacrosanct and is always concerned for the safety of its workers. Julie’s approach mirrors other Fox reports that I have seen on this tragedy which is to not cover the story behind the story. If the story were “fair and balanced,” the head of the United Mine Workers would be interviewed. But UMWA President Cecil Roberts expressed doubts that the Bush’s MSHA and the mine operators “fulfilled their responsibilities,” and then added that "Despite misleading and self-serving comments to the contrary ... these miners' lives were jeopardized because of the acts of men.” But this comment conflicts with the Fox’s pro business and anti union agenda and that’s why, on Fox, there’s only one side to this Big Story.