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You saw it on CNN first … but that’s all

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Look! It’s CNN, broadcast journalism at its vacuous best, the cable channel “where new pictures and information are arriving all the time …” And not telling me a damn thing.

New pictures “arrived” at CNN just after 9 a.m. Tuesday — helicopter video of a derailment in Brooks, Kentucky (see AP story). We now take you to the transcript of the “reportage” accompanying that first, “dramatic” flush of video.

I’ve highlighted the really good reporting:

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You’re with CNN. You’re informed. I’m Tony Harris.


Developments keep coming in to the NEWSROOM on this Tuesday, January 16th.

Here’s what’s on the rundown.

Furious fire in Kentucky. [teasers to other stories deleted]

HARRIS: And quickly now, let’s get you back to T.J. Holmes in the NEWSROOM. Take a look at these live pictures of this train derailment, Brooks, Kentucky.

T.J., give us the very latest.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We’re going to reset this scene and give you the latest. But what you’re looking at is a live picture on your left of what we’ve been seeing for the past two hours almost now.

This fire, a massive fire in Brooks, Kentucky, this is just south of Louisville, where there has been a train wreck. Several cars caught on fire, several tankers there that were on this train up in flames.

The firefighters have been unable to put this thing out. There was — certainly seeing the black — thick black smoke. Some earlier pictures on your right, live picture on your left.

The smoke was just unbelievable, the fire unbelievable, that black smoke. Knew there was something down there feeding this fire.

It took us a while — and before officials finally confirmed to us that, sure enough, there was something hazardous being carried on this train. CSX, which operates this railroad line, operates this train, says, sure enough, there were hazardous materials on this train and that people now have been evacuated from the area. A school has been evacuated, as well, as a precaution because there’s some kind of inhalation risk.

No injuries to report. That’s a good thing at this point. But firefighters now are telling us that they have, in fact, after a couple of hours of trying to go after this fire and not making much ground, if any at all, have decided to now pull back, pull their people out, getting all the firefighters out of there and just letting this thing burn itself out.

People in the immediate area, like I said, have evacuated, but people in the distance who are even downwind from this fire are being — it’s recommended to stay inside. Put towels up against the windows. Don’t let this smoke, don’t let this stuff come into your home. Do not breathe it.

So we’ve been watching this for some time. The pictures have been unbelievable. This fire has been massive.

A number of cars, maybe up to 15 on this train, caught fire, several tankers down there. But again, it took us a while — or at least we heard from an expert earlier who dealt with some of these investigations of train wrecks and whatnot who says they probably knew almost immediately or soon after what exactly was on the train, but firefighters, for the longest, were telling us at least that that word had not gotten to them, so they didn’t know what hazardous material might have been — what chemical might have been on this train.

So they were down there for an hour or so, almost two hours, fighting this right up there, dealing with the danger of the fire, but didn’t know what danger in the air they were dealing with as well. You do see some of those fire trucks still — still in the area there on the left side of your screen, but at this point they’re not dousing this fire with water anymore.

We’re being told they’re going to go ahead and pull back, pull out, and let this thing burn itself out. And then they’ll get back in there. And of course the investigation will ensue at that point.

But again, certainly important to note that no injuries reported here. Evacuations in place, but just going to let this thing go ahead and burn itself out — guys.

HARRIS: T.J. Holmes for us in the NEWSROOM.

T.J., appreciate it. Thank you.


The transcript of Holmes’ report is 573 words. Today’s quiz question: What did you learn in those 573 words?

I’m tired of seeing raw video on CNN (and CNN is not the only miscreant here) and a voice-over that says, “We’re following the story, and when we know more, we’ll tell you.”

I’d just rather CNN wait until it has something to tell me, not just tease me with the raw video.

But then again, if CNN did that, it couldn’t say “you saw it first here,” now, could it?

Report first. Present second.


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 17, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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