It is Tuesday afternoon and just a few minutes past the 24 hour mark for the worst accident in Metro's 30+ year history. And the media is in a frenzy!
Reporters for the local news stations, especially FOX5, are just chomping at the bit and asking anyone with a camera in front of them to explain why "Metro" [the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority] hasn't issued a formal statement explaining why two Red Line trains collided yesterday killing over 7 people and injuring dozens more.
I've heard a few intelligent people, telling the local media, through clenched teeth, that investigations are on going and neither Metro or the NTSB have any idea of what happened just 1 day ago. I don't even think emergency workers are 100% sure that they've gotten all of the bodies off the trains. A big section of of one train is just a compressed heap of tangled metal! Anything could still be in there at this point!
I'm pretty steamed about how the media outlets in this area are acting like bloodthristy sharks over this tragedy. Yesterday afternoon in the first hour after the crash, a few of the local newscasters were trying their damn'dest to be the first to use the phrase "confirmed casualty" in a complete sentence. I think FOX5 might have been the winner, but it was close!
Now, in the aftermath, everyone in the media is looking for the next sexy lead-in... "Who can we BLAME?" I've already heard that it appears to be a toss up between an automated mechancial system that failed and a possible operator error. One radio station reported that the driver of the train was ranked 18th from the bottom [in experience] in a system with over 500 operators. The news guy was actually drooling when he said that. I bet he was giddy that he could find such a stat.
The driver and at least 6 others died.
I truly wish that the media would just calm down a little bit. Report what they have and not make a circus of speculation out of what they don't have and out of what they don't know.
And, let's be real, law suits are going to start raining down from the sky on Metro, so that too is a legitimate matter that must be considered by WMATA. No matter how you slice it, there is no reason for Metro to rush out with an inaccurate statement only to have to issue a corrective statement days later... which of course, The Media would beat them to death over!
Let NTSB do their job, let Metro cooperate fully and keep their other lines servicing their hundreds of thousands of riders and let the information come out as it becomes clear. Nobody is going to forget about this DC Media, I promise - let's bury the dead, heal the injured, make sure this doesn't happen again and move forward.