The explosion of the West Fertilizer Co. plant on April 17 in West, Tex., killed 14 people, injured more than 160 and destroyed dozens of buildings. Yet unlike the tragedy in Boston, the Texas plant explosion began to vanish from cable TV less than 36 hours after it occurred. Marquee correspondents like Anderson Cooper were pulled out of West and sent back to Boston, and little airtime was spared for updates from Texas, even as many town residents remained missing. The networks seemed to decide covering two big stories was covering one too many, as if we journalists can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. The media’s neglect has greatly increased the danger that the explosion will quickly be forgotten, to the detriment of U.S. workers.

This is a tired refrain, I know. But I bet if you polled a sample of random American citizens, maybe one in ten would be able to tell you roughly how many people died in West. I'm not trying to compare this coverage to the Boston coverage; that's where this article suffers. But covering them both effectively certainly shouldn't have been out of the question.



posted by flagamuffin: 2100 days ago