Monday, January 13, 2014

Talk Is Cheap

Over 300,000 residents of West Virginia are without safe drinking water this weekend after 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol leaked into the Elk River.  It's a news story of great importance to ordinary Americans, as access to clean water is a basic necessity for human existence.  There is still much unknown and under-reported about Freedom Industries, Inc. (who stored/leaked the chemical) and how American Water Company responded to the emergency.  American Water also serves customers in 18 other states-- AZ, CA, HI, IL, IN, IA, KY, NY, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NM, OH, PA, TN, TX, and VA.   You would think that the reliability and competence of a company that provides water to states making up 60% of the country's population would merit coverage by the major media.  So let's look at the coverage the Sunday talk shows gave to one of the most significant environmental disasters in America since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill . . . . 


. . . . that's right.  There was none.   Meet The Press covered the Chris Christie story.   CBS' Face The Nation covered the upcoming five-year anniversary of the Hudson River landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549.  Martha Raddatz on ABC was compelled to cover a story that most definitely trumped the West Virginia chemical spill-- the new panda cub at the Washington zoo!

But maybe these shows are scheduled far in advance, and don't have the ability to react to last-minute developments.  What were their top stories two weekends ago?

Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation, Jan. 5, 2014:
"And good morning again, and before we get to Senator Reid, a quick update on this bitter cold that has two-thirds of the country in its grip from the Midwest to the Northeast and a good part of the South."

David Gregory on Meet The Press, Jan. 5, 2014:
"Good Sunday morning. Happy New Year. It is a bitterly cold morning as an arctic blast of freezing air is roaring through much of the U.S. Temperatures are gonna plunge well below zero from the Midwest, where they're playing some football today, to the East Coast with historic lows predicted."

George Stephanopoulos, on This Week, Jan. 5, 2014
"Happy new year, everyone. And for so many of you this morning, it is a frigid one. Half of the country from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, from the Rockies to the east coast, under cold weather warnings right now. The National Weather Service calls the temperatures life-threatening."

There was nothing more important going on in the world last weekend other than a fast-moving cold front?!  No wonder these shows are suffering their lowest ratings in a generation-- they've become irrelevant and a laughingstock. 

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