Friday, April 26, 2002

Hey, not my job, man
At first glance, I thought this might be another case of a journalist allowing a horrible thing to happen in order to maintain journalistic objectivity, in order not to "become the story".


[Deseret News reporter Jerry] Spangler wrote a story critical of his newspaper and its building managers after diesel fumes circulated throughout the nine-story tower's ventilation system. The spill was caused by a supplier who mistakenly pumped 400 gallons of diesel fuel into a tank that already was full. The delivery was meant for a building next door.

Spangler interviewed a state environmental quality official, who told Spangler to report the spill by calling 911. Spangler said he told his supervisors of the spill, wrote his story and went home.

Let me repeat this. Spangler, having been told specifically to call 911 and report the spill, instead turned in a story critical of building management and went home.

As it turned out, nobody called 911. Not Spangler, not his boss, not the diesel supplier, not even the state official who told Spangler to do it. This doesn't reflect well on anybody. Spangler's the only one being charged, though. I mean, by his own admission, he knew first. He had the scoop.

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