Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Flaming Mice, Exploding Mines and Dirty Rats

It's been rather amusing watching the right wing press and bloggers fume over how those knee-jerk libruls can hardly wait to blame our President for the Sago mine disaster. (A sick sort of "amusing" as in watching a cockroach's death throes after spraying it.) Unable to argue the facts about how MSHA, currently run by their friends and allies who were appointed by their President, has dropped the ball on mine safety, they are left with just a few sorry lines:

  • The jobs pay a lot (for West Virginia), so stop complaining.
  • No one is forcing them to take the mining jobs, so stop complaining.
  • They take the jobs knowing they're dangerous, so stop complaining.

Not being able to marshal facts on their own, they're now resorting to attacking those who are digging out the facts about how Bush's MSHA has dropped the ball. For example, Tom Blumer's blog on Newsbusters, a website dedicated to "exposing and combatting liberal media bias." Blumer first goes after the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz for criticizing journalists who have "abandoned reporting on health and safety regulation until disaster strikes." Blumer focuses on the story that "liberal" journalists have allegedly missed: that mines are safer than they used to be.

The second part of Blumer's article is no longer there to be seen. He had also attacked the excellent writing of Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette (who did the investigative article that I reviewed Sunday about the nation's failing mine rescue capabilities). As usual, however, Blumer didn't go after the facts that Ward presented(which are irrefutable), but after Ward himself, having discovered on that environmental website, Grist Magazine, that Ward was actually an environmental fanatic, apparently masquerading as a legitimate journalist. Blumer quotes the bio at the end of one of Ward's Grist articles:
Ken Ward has 25 years of leadership and campaigning experience with the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, Greenpeace USA, Public Interest GRFX, and the National Environmental Law Center. He was a cofounder of the Fund for Public Interest Research, Environmental Endowment for New Jersey, and Green Corps.
Eureka! What could be a more obvious case of liberal media bias?

Except for one thing. Wrong Ken Ward. The environmentalist Ken Ward is a different person than the Charleston Gazette Ken Ward.


Charleston Ken was notified about the errant post by a certain blogger (who shall remain anonymous) and wrote Newsbusters a not informing him that he had the wrong Ken Ward, and that, as he was born in 1967, it would have been hard for him have been an environmental leader for 25 years.

To his credit, Blumer published a retraction, which you can view here. Blumer wrote "I intensely regret, am mortified by, and apologize to Mr. Ward and Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post for the error." (Unfortunately, he also took the errant post down, so we can't gloat over it too much.)

Truthbusters, by the way, is a product of the Media Research Center, run by L. Brent Bozell III,
a zealot of impeccable right-wing pedigree, is the nephew of columnist William F. Buckley and the son of L. Brent Bozell, Jr., who assisted Barry Goldwater with the writing of Conscience of a Conservative.
But, hey, don't worry Tom, no one's perfect. Bloggers occasionally make mistakes. I've made a few small ones myself. Of course, yours was a biggy. Maybe you should start a little smaller. For example, instead of going after liberal media bias (a big order, considering it doesn't really exist), try starting with exposing the truth about anti-rodent media bias like this one that appeared in yesterday's news:

Blazing mouse sets fire to house
Laboratory mouse, BBC
The mouse completely destroyed the man's home

A US man who threw a mouse onto a pile of burning leaves could only watch in horror as it ran into his house and set the building ablaze.

Luciano Mares, 81, of Fort Sumner, New Mexico, found the mouse in his home and wanted to get rid of it.

"I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house," he was quoted as saying by AP.

Though no-one was injured, the house and everything in it was destroyed.

"I've seen numerous house fires, but nothing as unique as this one," Fire Department Captain Jim Lyssy said.

New Mexico has seen several major blazes after unseasonably dry and windy conditions which have destroyed 10 homes and devastated more than 53,000 acres (21,200 hectares) of land.
Happily, however, for mouse-lovers everywhere, it was revealed today as a hoax, just like the attack on Ken Ward:

Flaming Mouse Story Found To Be False

Mouse Rumor Doused

A small-town rumor that sparked world-wide interest about a mouse burning down a house has been found to be untrue.After 81-year-old Chano Mares's house burned down Saturday in Fort Sumner, news services picked up the quirky story.

According to the initial report, Mares threw the critter in a pile of burning leaves near his home, but it ran back to the house on fire. A local firefighter said the mouse ran to just beneath a window and the flames spread up the window and throughout the house.All contents of the home were destroyed, but no one was injured.

The mouse story, however, has been doused by Mares."It's really humorous more than anything that a mouse burned down the house," he told KOAT-TV in Albuquerque. The mouse was dead when it hit the burning leaves.

Mares said he trapped and killed the critter and tossed it on the fire. The flames, he said, probably reached his house because they were driven by high winds.
You've got a future, Tom. It's in rodents.