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Dear Media: Help Prevent the Next Unnatural Disaster

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Stop the presses. The horror story unraveling in central Utah just lost the plot. Tragically.

The doomed efforts to assess the fate of six miners missing after a cave-in was the daily go-to lead for news outlets of all media for nearly two weeks. The "race to save trapped Utah miners" [LA Times, August 9] never quite seemed real -- a human interest spectacle rivaling that of serial programs such as "Lost" -- with an utter lack of real reporting to boot.

This morning's headline (LAT | AP | Salt Lake Trib) would seem to bring some sort of resolution to the fate of the six miners, but with three confirmed dead and more injured after a tragic cave-in halted hasty rescue efforts, six miners are still "missing."

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As Americans, we're constantly reminded to "never forget" and to consider "safety first." We were also led to believe that the tearful Robert Murray, co-owner of the Crandall Canyon mining operation was too sympathetic a character to be a shady businessman who cared more for greed than safety. Rescuing, if not confirming the fate of six missing miners was his sole concern and priority.

It seemed that however Murray Energy Corp.'s crack disaster aversion PR team crafted the daily presser, the media dutifully relayed it to the world with very little independent investigation and even less objectivity.

10-year-old Adilene Lerma's father, Natalio, is a rescue team member at the Crandall Canyon mine disaster. He was uninjured in last night's cave-in (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong).