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I went on to the Huffington Post this morning and was obviously outraged when I read the headline, "Coal CEO Calls Mine Safety Rules 'As Silly As Global Warming'."  I almost stopped there, and even told somebody about this outrageous statement.  

However, when I clicked through to the story and watched the video, I discovered that that really isn't what he said at all.  Here's the actual quote:

"As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in the history of central Appalachia, I know that the safety and health of coal miners is my most important job. I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you. But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming."

For the sake of this exercise, I'll choose to ignore the fact that he calls global warming silly.  The issue here is Huff Po's incredibly misleading headline.  What this guy is saying is that the idea that people from Washington know more about mine safety than he does is silly.  Granted, several of them probably know BETTER than him, due to the fact that he owns a mine that just killed 24 of its workers, but he never makes the claim that mine safety rules are silly.  

If you see my Rasmussen post from a week or two ago, you'll see that I think that misleading headlines are one of the biggest problems with online sensationalist journalism, and count on people not clicking on them in order to bend the truth and spread pre-spun information.  Huff Po does it, Drudge does it (a lot), Rasmussen does it, and pretty much every other partisan online partisan news website does it do.  This mistreatment of the truth distorts facts for personal gain.  What Huff Po is trying to do is drive people to their site by getting people who are rightfully pissed off at this douchebag over the mine collapse to send this to all their friends, tweet about it, and try to spread their indignation as far as the broadband cable can see.  When stuff like this goes on from pretty reputable sources, it only gives more credence to the idea that the internet will never be able to serve as a reliable news source, which will only hurt Huff Po in the long run.

Originally posted to charlierybak on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 12:44 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Par for the course on HuffPuff. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, GN1927, dorkenergy

    I stopped going there years ago, when I had enough of the censorship of opinions that did not conform to the approved narrative.

    Elected officials don't swear on the Constitution to support the Bible; they swear on the Bible to support the Constitution.

    by NoVa Boy on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 12:48:18 PM PDT

    •  stopped going when they repeatedly (0+ / 0-)

      refused to correct sensationalist headlines and body text.

      Eyes and Ears closed.

      And the page-after-page layout of comments  was/is overly burdensome.

      Final straw was the in-your-face sexing up.

  •  This one I think may be legit paraphrase. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Little, Seamus D

    The intent of the coal statesment is obviously to undermine any support for more rigorous mine safety laws/regs.  If the state cared that much about it, it wouldn't have allowed the thousands of safety violatons to pile up until they killed people.  But, no matter how much they 'care', they can't get past the fact that coal cos own them.  Like Massey literally bought the WV SupCt. The senators wanting to kill unemployment insurance, to deny health care to Americans, the bigots, homophobes and haters... all claim to care - indeed, they'll claim it right up until they pour xyclon B on u.

  •  That site has a real problem with that. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, dorkenergy, MaikeH

    "This shit would be interesting if we weren't in the middle of it." -Barack Obama

    by dlh77489 on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 12:54:10 PM PDT

  •  "Miner safety rules" are regulatory, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jmknapp, Little

    i.e., federal.  Federal rules, voted on by politicians, are "as silly as global warming".

    Blankenship is saying precisely what HuffPo leads with.

    Please mail your public relations fee to mogolori@dailykos.com.

    This diary sucks.

    •  I agree. I don't think this is misleading. (0+ / 0-)

      Although the diarist is right about misleading headlines being common on HuffPo and Drudge.

      God has no religion. - Gandhi

      by OIL GUY on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 01:01:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're wrong (0+ / 0-)

      So he's complaining about the idea of FEDERAL regulations, not regulations in general.  What he's saying is that Congressmen in Washington don't know more about mine safety than he does, which is probably true, even if it doesn't mean he's going to act on it.  West Virginia can impose their own standards for mines and he doesn't appear to be opposing those.  Listen to or read his speech and please tell me where he says anything about opposing miner safety rules.  

      You can infer whatever you want from his comments, but you can't paraphrase him and twist his comments like that.  That's bad journalism.  

      Now, back to serious issues, like trying to impeach Dick Cheney.

      •  Totally untrue. Who the fuck do you think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mogolori

        makes mining regulations in the federal government? Football players? That's so dumb it almost doesnt' deserve a response. What you're' saying is the equivalent of saying insurance company CEOs know more and care more about the health of American citizens than some in government - so we should just leave it to them. What a farce.

        •  That's not the point (0+ / 0-)

          I think that Federal mining regulations are, in most cases, a good thing.  If you have a problem with the content of what HE said, please write him some mail, and use American flag stamps to make sure he opens it.

          The point is that he's talking about the mining regulators, not mining regulations.  Does he care about mining regulations?  Probably not very much.  Can you paraphrase him and say that's what he's saying in his speech?  Probably not.

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

            The point is that he's talking about the mining regulators, not mining regulations.

            That's a very dumb statement. Do you know who makes federal mining regulations? Do you have any idea? (The answer is "no." And my question is: Why the fuck are you talking about something you know next to nothing about?)

            •  you're right (0+ / 0-)

              No, I don't.  Possibly the Department of Labor, but you're right, I don't know.  Obviously someone in the federal government, which is the point of his fucking statement.

              Do you know where in his speech he says that all mining safety rules are silly?  (The answer is "no."  And my question is:  Why are you trying to argue a point that I wasn't trying to make?)

              •  If you don't know who makes mining (0+ / 0-)

                regulations, why are you joining Blankenship on how silly it is for people in the federal government to make mining regulations? I mean all this points to is your ignorance. You either support federal mining regulations, and federal regulators, or you support neither. And it seems to me that you don't support either.

                What he's saying is that Congressmen in Washington don't know more about mine safety than he does, which is probably true...

                That is a monumentally - listen to me now - monumentally revealing and misinformed statement. First, congressman don't work in a vacuum. They consult with experts, including those in mining ownership and mining workers, geologists, biologists, hydrologists - I could go on forever - amounting to an amount of knowledge light years beyond Blankenship's "Take coal out. Make mony" knowledge. Second, members of Congress can and have passed laws regulating coal mining (thank fucking god), but they're not the only ones involved.

                •  Thank You (0+ / 0-)

                  for the lesson on how mining regulations are established.  I'll make sure to never, ever post anything here until I have a full research document prepared on the topic.  

                  Also, I do support federal mining regulations.  Blankenship does not.  He says so in his speech.  Huff Po posted a headline saying that Blankenship gave a speech against mining safety rules without providing the qualifier that he was talking about federal regulations, and not "miner safety" in general.  

                  •  Don't be petulant. You're (0+ / 0-)

                    messing with an important issue here.

                    And would it do anything to your thinking to learn that Blankenship is against federal, state, city, county, township, town, village, or any regulation of the mining industry? He is the meatpacking owners from The Jungle. You seem to be incapable of understanding this.

                    •  I completely understand that (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Little

                      I never stood up for anything he stands for, nad I never would.  The blood of these miners is on his hands.The purpose of my post was to point out that Huff Po messed up their headline, probably on purpose.  

                      My "petulance" was an attempt to point out a larger problem with partisan media.  This problem is one that's violated much more often on the right, but I feel that it's important to point it out whenever it happens.

                      •  You're right, it is important to (0+ / 0-)

                        point out. I appreciate that. I thought this was a bad example. And Maybe I was mistaken, but I thought you were standing up for him when you said, "What he's saying is that Congressmen in Washington don't know more about mine safety than he does, which is probably true..." I tried to point that out, and how, I think, it's very wrong.

                  •  eom (0+ / 0-)

                    April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Don Blankenship, chief executive officer of Massey Energy Co., has fought with mine regulators, unions, residents of his town and even his personal maid.

                    His company regularly appeals fines for safety infractions. He has personally gone into mines to persuade workers to abandon union organizing efforts. Massey is fighting lawsuits that claim it contaminated groundwater in Blankenship’s town. A maid supplied by a company she claimed was a Massey unit was forced to fight all the way to West Virginia’s highest court to collect unemployment benefits.

      •  "For the sake of this exercise, (0+ / 0-)

        I'll choose to ignore the fact that he calls global warming silly."

        Mighty big of you, son.

  •  You know who else sucks? Balloon Juice. (0+ / 0-)

    And that awful "Atrios." What the hell kind of name is that? Sounds like a gay Greek god. You know who else. Talking Points Memo. Suck-age.

    P.S. Saying this:

    But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming."

    is virtually the same as saying this::

    Safety Rules 'As Silly As Global Warming'.

    because the "they" in the former graf are the people who make the "safety rules" in the second. He is dissing mining experts who work on mining regulations.

    And global warming isn't "silly."

    •  He's saying (0+ / 0-)

      federal regulators deciding this stuff is silly.  Obviously the last week has shown he was wrong, but my point was that Huff Po paraphrased him and changed what he said by inferring their deeper meaning.  I completely agree with the statement that "He is dissing mining experts who work on mining regulations," but that still isn't him saying something about safety rules, like they presented it.

      •  Fuhhhhck. (0+ / 0-)

        He's saying (0+ / 0-)

        federal regulators deciding this stuff is silly.

        Jesus.

        Yes, he is saying that, and in saying it is saying "Safety Rules 'As Silly As Global Warming'," because safety rules are made by federal regulators. Do you get that?

        And do you know anything? I mean anything? about the role of the federal government in regulation of business? Have you ever heard of Upton Sinclair?

        Jesus.

        •  Jesus. (0+ / 0-)

          I've read The Jungle.  And you're putting words in his mouth.  The page they linked to had this headline:

          Don Blankenship Called Safety Regulators ‘As Silly As Global Warming’

          Totally fair.  That's exactly what he does.  

          "Safety Rules 'As Silly As Global Warming'," implies that he is calling for abolishing safety rules in mines, because they're silly.  Watch the speech, tell me where he calls for the end of "silly safety rules".

          •  Why am I still here? (0+ / 0-)

            Your argument is that he didn't call regulations silly, but called "regulators" silly - and it has nothing to do at all with how he feels about regulations?

            Fuck me with acid spikes.

            •  "Fuck me with acid spikes." (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dorkenergy

              Well.  While that might be entertaining, charlierybak has it right.  Lazy, sensationalistic headlines and sorta-kinda-maybe-true ledes do not make for good journalism.

              "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

              by IndieGuy on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 02:38:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  What happend to basic literacy? (0+ / 0-)

      "The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming."

      Have you forgotten how to diagram a sentence?

      The modifier here is "as silly as global warming." The subject is "the idea that they care more."

      He is simply saying that he cares more about his employees - whom he might even know on a first-name basis - than distant Congressional staffers. Whether this is true or not does not change the fact that the HuffPo headline is wrong.

      Basic civility and common sense require you to give people the benefit of the doubt. This guy has said some truly stupid things that can be easily attacked. What HuffPo attacked him on was not one of them. Their zealousness winds up compromising their attacks, distracting attention away from the truly stupid things he did say.

      I would accuse HuffPo of being in league with the mine owner, but of course one should never attribute to malice what can be explained by simple incompetence.

      •  No. Wrong. He hats regulation, and has made that (0+ / 0-)

        his foundation, and when he says "The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming" he is saying "I hate regulation and will do or say anything to help kill them." There is no need to dance aroudn that.

        And you left out important bits of that quote:

        As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in the history of central Appalachia, I know that the safety and health of coal miners is my most important job. I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you. But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming.

        That is the crux. The "Washington politicians to tell me that" IS the regulations. That's what he's talking about.

  •  the CEO was right: (0+ / 0-)

    Global warming is not silly at all.  It is deadly serious.

    Therefore the idea that he cares more about mine safety than federal regulators is not silly at all.  It is deadly serious.

  •  That's why I call it PuffHo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dorkenergy, IndieGuy

    This is pretty typical of what goes on there.

    "Hope will spring eternal, when I've got you on your knees" - Gomez

    by jhecht on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 01:34:11 PM PDT

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