Media Cracks, Not Crack
posted by December 8 at 7:59 AMon
Neglect, not currently clean-and-sober crane operators with distant histories of drug abuse, would appear to be behind our “rash of crane failures.” So says this morning’s P-I—which has still not issued an apology to Warren Yeakey, the man operating a crane in Bellevue at the time of its collapse. That accident killed one man, and it was a miracle that Yeakey survived. Noting Yeakey’s history of drug convictions—the last being in 2000—the P-I ramped up the drug hysterics and charged, tried, and convicted Yeakey in an infamous headline.
It seemed like an open-and-shut case. Yeakey had a record of drug convictions, and this headline two days after the accident made it clear who the P-I thought was at fault:
Operator in crane wreck has history of drug abuse
Yeakey took a drug test, was found to be clean. Then the P-I told us that the crane might have collapsed due to an ongoing operator error, and implied that Yeakey was the only operator of the crane. Yeakey, in fact, was one of several workers who had operated the crane that collapsed. Now it turns out—well, what do you know?—that the P-I may not be able to blame crane operators and crack pipes after all. From today’s story:
Cracks, loose welds, and sheared bolts aren’t common in tower cranes, but you’d never know it from a spate of alarming discoveries at construction sites in Bellevue and Redmond.
For four of the hulking cranes to develop serious safety problems over the past three weeks, experts say needed maintenance and inspections were likely being neglected.
“That sounds to me like people aren’t having their cranes inspected while they are on the ground in pieces,” said Ronald Brodek, owner of Brodek Crane Inspections Inc. in Arizona.
To the editors of the P-I: We’re still waiting on an apology to Warren Yeakey. Front page, above the fold, in the headline.