Andrew Pollack's Blog

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CNN -- Back off Bob Murray a bit

By Andrew Pollack on 08/09/2007 at 07:33 AM EDT

Bob Murray is the part owner of a mine where rescue operations are underway right now. The men trapped 1500 feet below the earth may be alive, may be injured, or may be dead. These kinds of stories are always a huge draw for news programs like CNN, and in my memory the owners of the mine are usually faceless companies represented by expensive PR machines.

CNN is operating in full "gotcha" journalism style when they interview this guy. We, out here in opinion land, can't possibly know what caused the accident. We won't know that for months or years in all probability and only those of us who pay attention will ever bother to find out.

In the midst of CNN's badgering, however, a few things seem clear from the interviews and facts that have gotten out:

1. This guy Bob Murray appears to be personally involved and genuinely concerned. By being on site personally, his authority can and I'm sure is helping to streamline efforts by making any kinds of requests for funding or any decisions that need to be made happen as quickly as possible.

2. Interviews with other miners in the area have shown that this guy's mine operates with a very responsible attitude toward safety. Miners -- who are protected by unions and do not have to say anything -- are saying that any time they have an idea to improve safety it is accepted for serious consideration by the mine. The men consider it one of the safer mines to work for. CNN is focusing on the violations over the past year which number about 300, about 160 of which are listed as "significant". That sounds like a lot, however we know from the rest of the industry that in fact in a large operation like this it is actually a fairly small number. I've been peripherally involved in these kinds of safety inspections by agencies that have come by our little fire station, and they can be excruciating and even ridiculous. For our single building and four major pieces of apparatus to have only a couple of things noted is unusually small. I can't imagine a mine's report.

3. Murray is "absolutely sure" that the collapse was caused by an earthquake as originally reported to him by nearby seismic centers. Those same centers now say it may well have been that the collapse is what they picked up. Obviously nobody knows for sure. It may well be that Murray is wrong. For now, it doesn't matter. It will matter later. For now, the man is exhausted and clearly concerned for his people. If he wants to hang his hat on the event being of natural origin than so what? It will come out in the end, and in the mean time he's got to keep going as do the rest of the rescue workers.

In the end, it could turn out that Bob Murray is the great boss he makes himself out to be on T.V. or it could be he's the epitome of corporate irresponsibility. From what I've seen so far, he's a man doing the best he can to help his people right now, exhausted, and being badgered by CNN isn't helping.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: CNN -- Back off Bob Murray a bit By Anon on 08/09/2007 at 12:00 PM EDT
This was a NON union mine.
Thanks, Anon. By Andrew Pollack on 08/09/2007 at 01:16 PM EDT
Wish you'd filled out the form so I'd know who was giving me the tip.
re: CNN -- Back off Bob Murray a bit By Sean Harris on 08/09/2007 at 03:38 PM EDT
Does that make it better or worse?

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