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Wednesday, August 8, 2007
NewsBusters Takes Mine Owner At His (Misleading) Word
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 7 NewsBusters post by Terry Trippany (also posted at her own blog, Webloggin) uncritically accepts as fact the assertions of media bias made by Bob Murray, head of the Murray Energy Corp., regarding coverage of a collapse in a Utah mine he operates in which serveral miners are trapped. Murray specifically attacked Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein and Fox News.

Trippany picked up on Murray's attack on Borenstein, claiming that a Borenstein article "looked past any facts in cause of the Utah mine collapse and concentrated instead on the type of mining being done." Trippany adds:

There is no doubt in my mind that an agenda is being driven in Borenstein's report. Why else would he concentrate on the type of mining being done instead of getting geological information that would substantiate or disprove the claims of the mining company? ... A perfect drive by for a perfectly silly report that leads the reader to believe that a greedy corporation is violating safety rules to make a quick buck.

Trippany cited an edited version of Borenstein's article, apparently thinking it was all Borenstein wrote. The full version shows that Borenstein also quoted a co-owner of the collapsed mine and a spokesman for the mining industry calling the method in question safe and successful. Trippany claimed the article "leads the reader to believe that a greedy corporation is violating safety rules to make a quick buck" without noting that Murray Energy has racked up a rather notable tally of federal safety violations and that Murray himself has opposed more stringent mining safety regulations. (Borenstein's article didn't note that either.)

Trippany seems to be making the assumption that everything Murray says is ipso facto true and beyond question. For instance, Trippany states that the mine "collapsed after an earthquake struck the area" -- a claim Murray has made. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey and seismologists at the University of Utah have stated that there was no earthquake in the area, and that the collapse itself caused the recorded seismic event.

Further, while Trippany noted that Murray "also took a swipe at Fox News," she does not explore or attack what Fox News allegedly reported, unlike what she did with the AP. As we've reported, the MRC typically turns a blind eye to evidence of bias at Fox News.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:27 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 8, 2007 3:49 PM EDT

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