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February 16th, 2014
12:46 PM ET

Undercovered: The West Virginia water crisis

Local reporter Kallie Cart helps Brian Stelter shed light on a story that has received scant national media attention in recent weeks: the aftermath of a major chemical spill in West Virginia.


Filed under: Blog • Reliable Sources • Undercovered
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Stanley Krauter

    This segment was just another example of the phoniness of people in the news media.

    Look at our federal tax code. There have been many news reports on the federal tax code since the 1986 reforms and everyone knows that the tax code has been repeatedly corrupted by lobbyists. But the voters have never done anything to stop Congress from creating at least one new tax deduction for every lobbyist with a campaign contribution or a free meal. So all of the hard work by the many reporters was a complete waste of time. The only positive accomplishment was the money the reporters earned for entertaining the voters and their politicians. And the same thing could be said about the West Virginia water crisis. Even though fewer people are aware of the problems in the safety and reliability of our water supply, all of the previous news reports have essentially accomplished nothing. Just as nothing would be happening differently if the new media had sent more reporters to cover the West Virginia crisis.
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    But the voters would force Congress to eliminate the corruption in our tax code and solve the problems with our water supplies if reporters would just start communicating like teachers instead of reporters. For example, if every newspaper would publish an one page report on our tax code every year on April 15, then voters would become psychologically conditioned like a Pavlovian dog to get angry during the weeks before April 15. And their anger in the weeks before the one page report would inspire them to set goals for Congress to eliminate the corruption in the tax code. More importantly, the annual reports would help voters monitor the progress of their politicians in reforming the tax code. This doesn't happen now because the voters' anger always fades away after reading about our tax laws. They never enforce goals for reforms because they don't have a systematic way of doing it in a collective manner.
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    But reporters are too arrogant to change their professional standards. They don't care that their hard work is not accomplishing anything. They just care about the excitement and glamour of being a reporter. They are so used to seeing themselves as the people in white hats that they have forgotten that white is also the color of toilet paper. And Brian Stelter's is only interested in enhancing his image and ratings with his comments about West Virginia.

    February 19, 2014 at 12:28 am | Reply
  2. eyesonly11

    I really wish media would stop dancing around J. Clifford Forrest's role in all of this. If you check the WV Secretary of State filings for Etowah Terminal LLC from November 2011. You will see he is listed as the only named member of the member managed company. Etowah Terminal LLC operated the spill site until the merger.

    February 18, 2014 at 6:52 am | Reply
  3. Cathy

    Thank you from WV!

    February 17, 2014 at 11:15 am | Reply
  4. saneenergy

    Brian–We love that you have this segment–there's an endless number of worthy stories that don't get covered and enviro stories are high on the list–thank you for this work! Especially thank you for covering this story this weekend–we have just returned from Charleston, WV on what we dubbed the INsane Energy Tour. (see link here: https://www.facebook.com/events/750733621611897/?ref=22)

    The situation there is dire, a moth later people in the capitol city cannot function normally, and then there's a second spill into another stream! The abuses and breadth and width of the coal industry are hard to fathom without seeing it for one's own eyes, and media NEEDS to be on top of this. How is it that president Obama has not visited this disaster area?

    February 16, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  5. Pat

    With ratings in mind, stories that have a WOW factor get more publicity. The fact that no one was killed or falling over in pain lessened the wow factor of this story. However, when this unfolds you may find the inappropriate response from officials to be a more interesting story than the New Jersey bridge.

    February 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  6. charlene anteman

    I wish she had touched on the fact that FEMA has refused to come back in and bring water to we citizens of the affected counties (because it was deemed "safe"). However, since it was deemed safe, schools have closed, bans were reissued in Boone County, people are still getting sick and we are NOT using the water. I use it to flush toilets only and have washed a couple loads of clothes. I am awaiting test results from independent out of state labs on my water. My son has a 7 yr old who breaks out in a rash on his face and chest everytime he takes a shower. He has a 15 mo old son and a pregnant fiance who is due the end of April. She is getting nose bleeds and spitting up blood. Does this sound as though the crisis is over. I am tired of living in the 1880's in a Third World United States. I am tired of the fake that the White House has not acknowledged this, but the water is Russia is unsafe to drink and that made big news. I wonder if Bob's eye problem is related to their water. Please continue coverage of this

    February 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Reply
    • Pat

      Charlene, FEMA isn't coming because our officials gave the all clear for water use. Eventually the truth will come out about how decisions were made in the early days of this crisis.

      February 16, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply
      • Logan

        It doesn't help that Manchin drove all environmental protection out of the state during his governorship. I mean seriously, does lack of regulation really mean that much to this state's democratic party?

        February 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
      • Shanna

        No, Logan...it means that much to big coal in this state. Coal is EVERYTHING here, well coal and tourism...but how do you think MOST of the income is generated here? It's pathetically sad that the only thing that keeps us afloat here is the one thing that's killing us. Big Coal is in EVERY political pocket here and it makes me sick.

        February 17, 2014 at 7:45 am |
    • eyesonly11

      FEMAs denial is based on the state's ability to manage this ongoing crisis and the availability of water in the private sector. The burden is on the state to provide for the people affected by this. Also note the Governor did not request a declaration for individuals. There's different types of assistance andbhes just trying to get out of his responsibility.

      February 18, 2014 at 6:49 am | Reply

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