CNN Anchor Attributes East Palestine Symptoms to ‘The Power of Suggestion’

February 24th, 2023 4:22 PM

At the end of CNN en Español’s report on the visit of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to East Palestine, Ohio, anchor Juan Carlos López suggested that “the power of suggestion” is to blame for any symptoms that people might be feeling, rather than the effects of huge chemical fire after a catastrophic derailment.

Watch as López closes out his report by suggesting that symptoms resulting from the spew of toxic chemicals might be imaginary: “They say that they feel dizziness, watery eyes, throat discomfort when they're there- not when they leave town, but the power of suggestion is also great. We'll see what happens. Thank you very much. Gustavo Valdés, reporting from Atlanta.”



López, who often inserts his own little editorial comments at the end of each news item, provides no insight into his rationale for summarily dismissing the legitimate healthcare concerns of the residents of East Palestine, Ohio. Lopez’ remarks are not as grotesque as those of, say, Joy Behar, but only barely less so. Rather than suggesting they deserved the derailment and toxic spew, López accuses victims of the derailment, without evidence, of malingering. 

CNN’s planned overhaul of its Spanish-language network can’t happen soon enough.

This report was brought to you by United Healthcare. Their information can be found here.

Click “Expand” to view the full transcript of the aforementioned report as aired on February 23:

CNN en Español
February 23, 2023

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ: And another controversy that is now political occurred - or began on February the 3rd, when a train with 150 cars derailed. It was carrying thousands of gallons of toxic substances. But the consequences are now politically toxic. Let's go to Gustavo Valdes. Gustavo, yesterday we were talking about the visit of former President Trump and his speech as a presidential candidate at the scene of this accident. Today, it was the Secretary of Transportation.

GUSTAVO VALDES: That's right. It is a visit that many say is quite late. Many believe that he should have acted more quickly, showing up and representing the Biden Administration – ​​this is the political part. But let's begin with the investigation part, because today the preliminary report was released (describing) what they believe happened in order to derail 32 cars of this train. Eleven of them were carrying these toxic substances. They say that during the trip which was carried out at a speed below the authorized speed limit- that is, it was not speeding - a sensor detected high temperature in a part of the wheel, the part of the wheel that makes it spin on the axis. It began to intensify from mile to mile, the operators began to apply the brakes as they saw the temperature rise and it reached over a hundred degrees Celsius. They decided to brake completely, something happened with the brakes that work differently in each wagon; the emergency brakes, and they believe that this was what led to the derailment that also resulted in the release of these chemicals that are quite toxic. They are flammable, and after what we know of this drama that was experienced for several days, the decision was made to let these liquids flow little by little so that they burned instead of causing an explosion because they say the internal temperature in these cars continues to- continued to rise.

Authorities so far say - they make it clear that there is no evidence that the personnel on board the train did anything wrong, anything erroneous, but the president of the department in charge of the protection of transportation security in the United States (NTSB), says that sometimes you can't only talk about accidents.

JENNIFER HOMENDY: The (NTSB) has been on the ground since day one. We completed our investigative work at the scene yesterday, but we still have a lot of work to do as part of this investigation. So today I'm announcing that the NTSB will hold a rare field inquiry hearing this spring in East Palestine. We don't often have research hearings. This is unusual.

VALDÉS: The (NTSB) president also said that she- that she doesn't like to use the word "accident". She says- she believes that every accident can be avoided. Perhaps in this case, that the mechanical parts be thoroughly reviewed, perhaps the regulations that would’ve allowed - or would force the railway industry not to carry trains so loaded with so much weight and of so much length. This is also somewhat in response to the accusations made, among others, by former President Donald Trump who accuses the current government of not having done anything when the reality is that when he was president, he eliminated some regulations regarding the weight of trains. But it is not clear whether these regulations would’ve had anything to do with this incident. Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary who had been criticized, finally arrived at the scene.

PETE BUTTIGIEG: But having these findings is important in order to be able to advance to the phase of determining policies. We will wait for (the NTSB’s) determination in order to make certain determinations. But we will continue to do our best to raise the level of railway safety.

VALDÉS: The president of Southern Norfolk(sic), owner of both the train and the tracks, participated yesterday in a roundtable with residents of the region, (which was) organized by CNN. At this event, he apologized for the accident. The residents (of East Palestine, OH) are not very pleased. They say that there is still much to be done, both by the government in part, by the company in part, and above all, with regard to health. People still do not believe that the water is safe to drink despite the fact that the (Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency) was there drinking tap water a couple of days ago, but there also is a great impact on the environment in the region. Juan Carlos.

LOPEZ: They say that they feel dizziness, watery eyes, throat discomfort when they're there- not when they leave town, but the power of suggestion is also great. We'll see what happens. Thank you very much. Gustavo Valdés, reporting from Atlanta.