Just yesterday I posted an article about another Amtrak train that was involved with a trespasser accident. In the article, the writer stated that the "Conductor" sounded the train's horn several times to no avail.
Of course, those of us whom know anything about railroading, immediately caught that erroneous statement. In fact one community member politely corrected me - I suspect, just in case that I really did not know.
I reassured him that I indeed did know the article contained this (and other) errors. I also pointed our however, that most media journalist and TV newscasters are "rushed" to beat a deadline and often accuracy is sacrificed on the alter to speed.
Here is a beautiful example. In this TV report the news anchors introduce the story with a blurb about "...two people loosing their lives in a head-on train collision..." Now to respond to and prepare for any future events; a training session was scheduled between Amtrak & FIRTS responders. Ok - that's a good thing.
However, once the story begins we immediately see an inaccuracy; the 2 deaths referred to in the lead into this story were crew members on 2 FREIGHT TRAINS. The story is about a training session on PASSENGER TRAINS.
The inaccuracy is not an innocent "oops" by the writers; after all, news about a boring old training class - well, it won't generate ratings. However, if you "spice it up" by referring to a horrific head on collision of two trains that killed two people.....there go the ratings!
Let's face reality here! The likelihood of head-on collisions between trains has been and continues to be reduced drastically. We know that. But is that accurately reported here?
The inference here is that Amtrak passenger trains could be involved in such a horrific collision. True statement? Yes. However, is any of the railroad's continuing safety improvement for prevention of these mentioned? No. The reader or as in this case, the listener, is only told how Amtrak and first responders are training to rescue passenger 'WHEN' this happens.
The training itself - that's a great thing and yes, it is needed. The way that the media presents the cooperative efforts between Amtrak & first responders, is not.
If we, as both Railfans and as the American General Public's voice; speak up and begin calling attention to HOW the story is presented by the media. Demand accuracy in broadcasting & writing (CBS touts their pledge to "Fair & Accurate" reporting of the news) of ALL railroad related stories.
Accidents are going to occur; safety will and should always be priority 1. Allowing our mass media outlets to dilute, pollute, twist or "manage" stories to their advantage is not only wrong; it WILL RESULT in undue regulations, requirements, rulings and oversight by Government Agencies.
Oh, not only for the railroad industry...but for passengers, Railfans and the general public too!