i was thinking the exact same thing when i saw that headline, how irresponsible of them to ruin that guys life with such an irresponsible headline. way to sensationalize a tragedy P-I!
Dan, I agree with you. KING5 repeated the same thing every news broadcast this weekend too. It just seems a little on the slanderous side.
But wait. If the PI can run stories about successful former-addicts, why can't they also run stories about failed former-addicts?
Oh, but wait again. There's no proof that the guy was on drugs, right? So, he might've actually succeeded in turning his life around, only to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, it's all speculation. Is it relevant, newsworthy, in-the-public-interest speculation? I dunno. Does The Stranger consider speculation to be unworthy of a newspaper?
With their logic, the story might as well have been: "Crane Designer Binge Drinker in College", "Foreman of Site Has History of Failed Marriages", or "Mother Nature Causes Flooding, High Winds - Katrina Survivors Outraged, Insulted".
What a bunch of fucktards.
Not surprising, really. Culturally, the U.S. is actively against both criminal and addiction rehabilitation. (Don't even get me started about the war on drugs.)
The hypocrisy is that most people have at least tried drugs and/or gone through some phase in their life when they were engaging in border-line addiction behaviors. However, addiction-based crimes are only crimes when committed by non-wealthy people.
Once a non-wealthy person has been convicted (ne accused) of a crime, it will be dredged up throughout their lifetime and used to deny them housing, jobs, insurance.
A few years ago a St Louis Cardinals pitcher died in his hotel room, and of course all the local papers published that he had a sack of weed in his room. It didn't have anything to do with anything, but they had to say it. It's as if no matter how irrelevent, if there is any drug angle, they throw it in there, just in case. A holes.
What a sensationalist douchebag move by the PI to double back like that.
Do we even know that Yeakey himself was solely responsible for the crash? Could something structurally have failed?
Sounds like the PI's already decided.
I don't think this was an ideological flip-flop, even if it was reprehensible. The PI is desperate to sell papers. This probably helped the PI, even if it ruined a man's chances of getting a good job again.
Thanks for calling this out, Dan. It's BS. We've been having the wettest November on record (which I read about in the P-I) so of course that may have something to do with it. Perhaps the ground was soggy and thus made the crane unstable. Or maybe the guy was on drugs, but we should know that before we implicitedly blame him for the accident. To do otherwise is irresponsible.
On a related note, papers often do this to put a person in an article down in some weird way. For example, Harry Stonecipher didn't have an affair with an employee, he had an affair with a divorcee (pretend there's an accent on the first "e"). What does it matter that this person was divorced? (Oh, I remember: SHAME! SHAME! You have to stay married for life otherwise you are a harlot.) Or someone who ever stripped in their lives will be a 'former stripper' for the rest of their lives, even if it was 25 years ago and they've had five other jobs since then. Stuff like that is annoying.
My wife and I spent an hour Saturday morning talking about how fucking stupid that story was, and the backwards, drug war hysteria thought pattern behind it. The clincher was the giant front page treatment they gave the story, complete with the large-type "BREAKING NEWS" headline font.
Blame someone...blame anyone! There must be somebody to blame!
but was yeakey a gentleman of leisure?
Even if the dude was high, how the hell do you tip over a crane on purpose or through an act of idiocy? Could he get a DUI (DWI???) for this?
The huge two-deck headline for this guy having a past of being an idiot was totally unneccessary.
Thanks for writing what I've been thinking, Dan. This is total bullshit. The P-I's own diagram showed that the crane failed in the metal down by the base, which theoretically cannot happen, if the materials are properly maintained and inspected. There's no way it was operator failure; he doesn't have access to operations that would make that steel fail there. He's a scapegoat for a reckless, murderous company, is the way I see it.
what it does is deflect the blame from the corporation/contractors which own the crane. Chances are, the crane was 100% safe last time it was inspected. That is, 100% safe as defined by law. But until invesigators determine that the crane was not 100% safe on that very date and time (obviously, since 100% safe cranes do not fall down and hit a person seated on their couch, even when "trained operator" is factored into the safety report), the dailies will just go with easy, factually based adjectives. CYA, since he was a 'drug abuser', and easily recoverable from say 'inept local constuction company operates crane in unsafe weather conditions'.
The human angle, no matter how tenuous, define news disaster stories. FEMA works well 100% of the time... but Mr. Brown is to blame for Katrina response, oil spills out of a tanker into the water... pilot error not the employers fault, bolt falls of an airplane in flight... dumbass mechanics fault, not the employer of the dumbass. Books have been written on exactly how engrained corporate culture is on ever aspect of our lives, that it often goes unnoticed when coporate culture crops up in areas hard to focus on, like the behind the scenes wheeling and dealings as they work into local disaster news reporting.
Dan is right.
It is no secret--even among Seattle progressives--that the quality of the writing and reporting at the PI has taken a big slide in recent years. Local news and local political coverage have fallen behind both The Seattle Times and The Stranger. While I frequently disagree with The Seattle Times’ editorial page, I will give them credit for their willingness to engage on difficult issues and to cut against the grain of Seattle’s old growth liberals (myself included). It is obvious that the PI needs to boost its circulation, but when they sensationalize stories in an effort to improve sales it comes at the expense of quality journalism. This is both sad and disturbing.
Honest and insightful reporting leads to respect, which leads to more readers, which leads to higher sales. Hyped-up and over-blown articles designed to create the appearance of scandal and conflict, leads to becoming the laughing stock of Seattle print media. The Seattle PI owes a public apology to Mr. Warren Taylor Yeakey.
Phenics, what do you mean by "the last time it was inspected"? Cranes aren't inspected in WA. The only people who ever inspected that crane was the company that owned it. There was a state commission put together after the fatal crane accident in the Kingdome (same company, btw), but it disbanded after doing nothing.
My newspaperman didn't deliver my Saturday P-I, the bastard. He was for delivery before he was against it. I'm so so tired of that "he was for XYZ before he was against it." How long will that keep being used in blogs? Probably. As. Long. As. This. Crap.
The P-I headline was quite lame and overblown, but it's not "slander" if it's true.
Dan Savage on journalistic ethics?
C'mon, this has got to be a gag.
Dan, isn't your paper's mantra that it's a low-budget "advocacy" rag, meaning it can take sides, select facts and ignore other facts, use fake names, call people "asswipes," hell, just make shit up - and that's the whole point?
Are you seriously making a point about fairness or sensationalism? How about policing your own publication? Or is this yet another publicity stunt?
What a hypocrite.
Anyway, here's another somewhat related P-I article (although it was written by the AP, the P-I chose to run it)
Clinton neighbors in mystery shooting
The Clintons apparently have nothing to do with this, but just coincidentally happen to be neighbors of the people involved. However, the Clintons are the headline. Nice.
Did you really not know that your personal drug use can corrode metallic objects around you?
If they were consistant we would see stories like these:
"War continues to kill and maim US troops and untold Iraqies long after premise of war has been refuted. President has long history of drug and alcohol abuse, and admits lying as a matter of convenience."
"Vice President Cheney shoots elderly man in the face, admits drinking while on medication, and has long history of drunk driving and leering sneer."
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