Tragic News Reversal
We were overjoyed and posted the amazing news in just one sentence - "Great news being reported on Fox - 12 West Virginia miners have been found alive!" The pictures of the ecstatic family members learning their loved ones had been saved were wonderful. We searched for more news and posted an update with a link to an AP story about the miracle discovery. All the cable news porgrams had the fantastic story with the happy ending we had all hope for. We went to bed feeling so thankful and very happy for those folks in West Virginia.
Then this morning we learned one miner was found alive and 12 were found dead. We deleted our original post because there’s no sense in keeping it up today. It was posted with joy and we have taken it down in dejection. We know we can’t begin to conceive of the affect this reversal must have had on those so jubilant a few hours before. A terrible tragedy compounded by false good news.
Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those lost in this horrible accident. How we wish the news had been right.
Update: Jeff Jarvis writes:
One terrible lesson of the West Virginia mine tragedy is that you can’t trust the news. You never could; it has always taken time to see whether stories pan out, to get all the facts, to find out the truth. But now, in our age of instant news and ubiquitous communication, the public sees this process as it occurs. It’s not the news that’s live; it’s the process of figuring out what to believe that’s live. Now, indeed, everyone is a reporter and an editor and the public is learning, as reporters learned, that they need to find their ways through the fog of news. The next time I hear someone being haughty about professional news vs. citizen’s news, I’ll remind them of the West Virginia tragedy, where news traveled ahead of the facts, where everyone was horribly wrong.A Blog for All has more about the Crushing Blow:
Someone made a horrible mistake in transcribing conversations with search and rescue teams inside the mine and that mistake was compounded when it was relayed to the families. Just who exactly did relay that information and whether they were in a position to do so will also need to be investigated. It's quite likely an honest mistake, but one with an unusually cruel outcome.
What doesn't change is that these miners died in a coal mining accident. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those killed at the Sago mine in Tallmansville, WV.