"Is the national media ignoring the TVA disaster?"

Yes.

Compare and contrast the national TV coverage of water spillage from a broken Maryland water main versus the reporting (or non-reporting) of 1.7 million dumped cubic yards of fly ash. I haven't seen many segments on the poor infrastructure in Roane County. Have you?

MDB's picture

To be fair, Bethesda is in

To be fair, Bethesda is in the suburbs of Washington, DC, so every major news organization has plenty of reporters there.

I don't think CNN has a Roane County bureau.

That doesn't justify it, but it does make it a lot easier to cover the Maryland water main break.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." -- Will Rogers

Brian A.'s picture

No Harriman bureau?

True, but the news channels don't even have to have their own reports on site to have it on their broadcasts.

I did see a mention of it on the Rachel Maddow Show.

The odd thing is this is a story begging to be covered because it fits right into the infrastructure repair narrative.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Sarge's picture

Just a minute people, I've

Just a minute people, I've seen pictures and comments on CNN & . MSNBC.

Rachel's picture

I think some of the sketchy

I think some of the sketchy coverage may be due to the holidays. Probably fewer reporters working at the national bureaus and definitely less experienced ones.

kc wildmoon's picture

we're trying

CNN.com posted the story last night, and for most of the night it was the top story on CNN.com, finishing in the top 10 for the day. I saw the story several times on the network during the day today as well. And Rachel is right about the holidays -- there was nobody to send.

(link...)

reform4's picture

The Coal Industry

.. there has been very little coverage of the dozen or so major environmental disasters related to coal tailing ponds, and no national coverage of mountaintop removal lining.

SteveMule's picture

This on MSNBC/NBC and msnbc.com

(link...)
The report includes the admonition for those effected to boil their water. As someone on a relected thread earlier pointed out, this will do nothing to make the water safe. Boiling is only effective against bacterial and viral contamination.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!

SteveMule

Factchecker's picture

I don't know if SteveM's

I don't know if SteveM's link rotates those MSNBC videos at random or what, but the first one I got was a story about sand vs. salt road treatments in the Seattle area.

Here's a link about NBC's apparently belated coverage. The boiling water advice is repeated, though.

SteveMule's picture

Sorry about that :(

I went back and looked and ... the salt thing in Seattle was the story AFTER the one about the Flay Ash spill. Apologies to all.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!

SteveMule

Pam Strickland's picture

Today

I was reading a story on nytimes.com when a story came on All Things Considered this afternoon.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

Factchecker's picture

Nothing to see here, coal power still "clean"

Major top of hour story on NPR this morning. Don't know if it's a replay of yesterday's report. TVA says it's not really a problem for residents who are surrounded by ash, and "no evidence" there's any problem with drinking water. Residents are skeptical. Alarmist university (eco-wacko liberal) "scientists" warn ash is toxic and carcinogenic.

Oh, and TVA states that some water samples taken somewhere nearby meet state limits. So that's a relief!

Brian A.'s picture

NPR this afternoon

I heard a segment this afternoon. Are they repeating the same one? At any rate, NPR seems to be all over it.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Pam Strickland's picture

no, new stories

New info in every story that I've heard. Also, it's showing up on network news according to my family members who gathered tonight.

Latest in the KNS is that things are a lot worse than TVA was admitting to initially. It's going to get interesting.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

charles kincaid's picture

fly ash sludge mess

I'm from Knoxville, class of 49, and have lived out west in NM for 36 years. Out here we steal our coal from the Indians, same as always it's really true, and they say from space the only man made pollution you can see is the smoke coming out of the San Juan generating station. Of course its conveniently located in the Four Corners area which is Indian country. We, the collective WE, that use electricity in such unthoughtful and wasteful lifestyles that most of us live, will not get over coal burning technologies until we associate a real $ cost with coal burning or rather alternatives to coal, and then we have to pay those costs. We aren't geniuses out here either, since 95% of our power is from Indian coal. Indians don't get rich on selling the utilities coal because their own crooked leaders gave it all away under very long term contracts back in the 80's, but they are getting rich taking White Man's money at the casinos. Photovoltaics(big word) and wind power, start reading about them. If you go west on I-40 past Amarillo,TX you will see two of the biggest wind farms on the planet. Way cool, as the towers are 300 ft. tall! I was Blown Away, literally, as its real windy there. All the best to TN peoples, we have endured incredible pollution out west at the hands of miners and utilities and are in solidarity with you all.

Brian A.'s picture

Uptick in coverage

I haven't been watching much TV news over the holidays, but I gather from comments here and elsewhere that this disaster has gotten more coverage during the last two or three days. It seems odd to me that it gets more air time now than it did immediately after the incident, but I'm glad that people are paying attention.

Hopefully the publicity will ensure a proper cleanup, and steps are taken to avert this kind of damage in the future.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Anonymously Nine's picture

KNS coverup?

Something seems strange on the local coverage by the KNS of the TVA sludge spill. Both Google and Yahoo show very little of the KNS coverage. Now Jack McElroy asks on his blog if the national media is underplaying the story. The bigger question is, is the KNS underplaying the story?

(link...)

Why for this particular news story does the KNS insist on putting the story in the Business Section? Isn't that a strange place for a local story? The Business Section has been used in the past to bury news stories so the plausible deniability gambit can be played. The old "we published it, but it's up to you to find it" game.

Is the KNS deliberately using robots.txt to exclude this TVA news story from search engines?

Does this seem strange?

(link...)

(link...)

Now compare the searches to the number of stories the KNS has printed.

(link...)

That is much more coverage than the search engines show. Of course this may be moot in the next web crawling later today as it is predictable the robots.txt will be expanded. But this morning it looks odd. Very odd. As does the practice of placing one of the biggest stories of the year in the Business Section.

Never fear though, the KNS will win another Scripps award for outstanding journalism. Well Rosebud, look at what journalism has become.

Rachel's picture

Is there any subject in the

Is there any subject in the world that you don't think is really about the KNS and/or Ragsdale?

Anonymously Nine's picture

Share with the class...

You worked for TVA for 14 years? And the fish died from the temperature, right?

I see. Fair and balanced. You should consider journalism as your next career.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Grow up eight year old...

No change of heart. Without nuclear power coal has to remain. Bennie caps with propellers won't generate enough power.

But that doesn't mean that this kind of malpractice can be tolerated. People at TVA who oversaw this pond should lose their jobs. If this is a quarter of a billion dollar cleanup top TVA management should be replaced.

The NYT story, which so far is the best reporting, begs the big question, was the pond overfilled before the rains? It appears that is the case.

Another question is why does the NYT have the best reporting when the KNS is on the scene? Because the KNS will not ask the questions? Another good question is would this have happened if there was a real newspaper in Knoxville? The giant version of CityView doesn't have any teeth. If the new rule is that advertisers can not have truthful news stories printed then it isn't a newspaper any more.

At $35 dollars a ton to haul away the ash TVA will build its own lined landfill nearby. So TVA screws the pooch with the initial screwup, then will get the go ahead to fix the problem internally. Sounds right. What to bet they will screw the pooch on the landfill?

BTW, everyone wants an electric car to save the planet and their money. Where will that electricity come from? Since you asked so nicely, a better allocation of energy and resources would be gas gasification to fuel our cars. I could explain it, but you wouldn't be able to understand it. It doesn't involve Social Democracy.

Rachel's picture

You know what, f*** you.My

You know what, f*** you. Yeah, I worked for TVA - in Information Technology. I left over 10 years ago. So clearly I would be an apologist for TVA mismanagment of its power plants. Sheesh.

My husband is a water quality engineer for TVA. He has more integrity in his little fingernail than you have in your entire body. He's also very upset over this tragedy and in no way would try to absolve TVA of responsibility.

He also deals in facts. It's a fact that in very cold weather, there are shad kills in local waters. It's a fact that some of the fish could have been killed by the wave. They may have been killed by the change in pH. They may have been choked by the sediment. Probably it was a combination of all these things.

The toxicity of this material (heavy metals) has not had time to kill fish. It is possible that over time those metals will be concentrated in the food chain, and that's certainly a bad thing.

Nothing I've said here lets TVA off the hook. They screwed up. Big time, although we don't know exactly how and when yet. But let's be upset at what they screwed up about rather than making s*** up.

And Toby - don't you know that bikes are the nefarious tools of New Urbanists fascists lite???

Factchecker's picture

BTW, everyone wants an

BTW, everyone wants an electric car to save the planet and their money. Where will that electricity come from?

Excess capacity that already exists at night, when cars would be charged.

...a better allocation of energy and resources would be gas gasification to fuel our cars. I could explain it, but you wouldn't be able to understand it.

It would be a stupid explanation since it's a stupid idea. You could read this, but you wouldn't understand it.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Correction...

...a better allocation of energy and resources would be gas gasification to fuel our cars. I could explain it, but you wouldn't be able to understand it.

That is a typo. It should have read "coal gasification". I don't support Pickens plan.

Tess's picture

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says he's stunned

6 News talked with an environmentalist who says TVA is not doing enough to warn people about the potential danger of fly ash.

The sludge has swallowed more than 300 acres in Kingston. Doctor Stephen Smith, Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says he's stunned that TVA officials are not going out into the community to explain to residents what's in it.

"They tend to be downplaying the significance of this," says Smith, "I think that is irresponsible." Smith calls it a monumental disaster.

He says the fly ash left behind can be dangerous. "I would not be there right now. I have small children and I don't think it's safe to be there."

Fly ash is a by product of coal. It can contain many toxic metals like arsenic, lead and mercury. "They need to tell people fly ash has elevated levels of these toxic materials," adds Smith, "And they need to get out into the public and talk about it not to create panic, but just to be responsible."

The biggest problem arises after the ash dries out. Then it can become airborne and cause health problems if inhaled. That's why environmentalists have been pushing for years for fly ash to be regulated as a hazardous material, kept in a lined, covered storage area.

Dr. Smith says with tough regulations, this disaster could have been prevented. "Just having it behind an earthen dam and hoping it's not going to leak and stacking it over 50 feet into the air is an irresponsible way to deal with it."

Anonymously Nine's picture

More problems soon...

The biggest problem arises after the ash dries out. Then it can become airborne and cause health problems if inhaled.

Absolutely correct.

The way TVA handled this is abhorrent. The way local media handled this was abhorrent. Only now five days later is the public being informed of the risks.

smalc's picture

It's somewhat ironic that

It's somewhat ironic that flyash produced from scrubbers is causing so much environmental harm. Clean the air-pollute the water.

Anonymously Nine's picture

so true

It's somewhat ironic that flyash produced from scrubbers is causing so much environmental harm. Clean the air-pollute the water.

Good observation. It looks like TVA never had this thought out. There were problems in two different years with this pond.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Wow

(link...)

Seems only special people can take pictures.

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