Blaming Bush for the West Virginia Mine Disaster

A Wednesday editorial, “Lost Time, Lost Lives in the Mine,” once again jabs a crude finger at Bush for the West Virginia mine disaster.

“….vital positions at the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration have gone unfilled in recent years, inviting only further laxity on the part of companies that have been allowed to outsource their safety responsibilities to off-site contractors that are not subject to regular federal inspections. And the safety administration, which once maintained rescue experts at regional offices, now has them dispersed across the nation on the theory that they can be summoned fast enough to save lives. Warning signs have abounded in recent years. Yet The [Charleston] Gazette found that a plan begun a decade ago to upgrade the mine rescue program was quietly scuttled by the Bush administration. The pro-company bias of the administration is itself a factor deserving full investigation if the inquiries now being promised are to have any credible effect.”

But as John Merline observes at TCS Daily, an accurate news headline would read: “Sago mine tragedy defies improved mine safety trend under the Bush administration.”

Armed with stats, Merline asserts:

“Mining fatalities have dropped every year President Bush has been in the White House, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Since 2001, mining deaths averaged 63 a year, which is 30% lower than during the Clinton administration. The fatality rate has dropped as well -- it was 31% lower in 2004 than it was in the last year of the Clinton administration.”

For more examples of NYT bias, visit TimesWatch.

New York Times
Clay Waters's picture