"They're the hardest working people in America. They're the proudest," Governor Joe Manchin -- nephew of a miner himself -- is telling a Fox News anchor re the coal miners of West Virginia. "However it was misunderstood, whatever was said, from there, it goes like wildfire. I am sure that everyone's intentions were well. We will have a full investigation."
"You wanna believe good news," comments the local Channel 7 Boston news anchor this morning, catching the conscience of the king just before all hell breaks loose as the national media and cable news get set for a day of spinning out of control over the "rollercoaster ride" of late-evening, wee-hour developments in the West Virginia mine-explosion story. We happened to awaken and catch CNN's more-earnest-than-thou Anderson Cooper reveling in the "breaking news" earlier on that 12 of the 13 missing miners had been found alive. But the breaking news turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking and hysterical rumor. Dozing in and out of consciousness during fitful sleep, we came upon Cooper as Deer in the Headlights a couple of hours later, eyes popping and mouth agape as a sorrowful eyewitness was telling him the families had been "lied to." All but one of the miners -- who is in critical condition -- had been found dead. It was horrible. How could it have happened? Deftly sidestepping his own role in spreading the euphoric rumor that 12 had been found alive, Cooper and his counterparts on MSNBC -- the overripe Rita Cosby -- and Fox News -- some wet-behind-the-ears Anderson Cooper wannabe -- opted for the "blame game."
"Now families are demanding answers after they were first told their loved ones were alive," mouths a morning newscast "anchor." It's being billed as a "miscommunication." Impossible at this point to know what really happened, but piecing together what we heard with our own ears during early-morning press conferences by the International Coal Group Chief Executive Officer Ben Hatfield and the totally awesome Governor Joe Manchin -- who lost his uncle and many friends years ago in a mining accident where 78 died -- and who calmly and heroically resisted Rita Cosby's frenzied efforts to cast blame early and often -- it sounds like someone may have "misinterpreted" overheard conversations between rescuers and the command center, hearing what one wanted to hear -- who could blame anyone for that? The rumor spread, the church bells rang, Anderson Cooper & Co. fanned the fires, and there you were with a community of potential mourners believing in miracles and set up for a horrific letdown.