Friday, May 24, 2013

Media/Politicians Already Politicizing Bridge Collapse

The dust has just barely settled on the ramming and resultant collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State and the media and some politicians are already trying not to let the crisis go to waste.  Here's CBS News:
"Since 1989," LePatner said, "we've had nearly 600 bridge failures in this country and, while they're not widely publicized ... a large number of bridges in every state are really a danger to the traveling public."
Which is an interesting statistic that has nothing to do with what happened, according to the eyewitnesses on the scene who said a truck carrying an oversize load hit the bridge.  But here's CBS quoting a transportation official:
The bridge was inspected twice last year and repairs were made, Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said. "It's an older bridge that needs a lot of work just like a good number of bridges around the state," she said.
Yet it was not deemed 'unsafe' or else the state would be liable.  Here's NBC News quoting a transportation report:
The bridge was of a "fracture critical" design, as are 18,000 bridges nationwide, meaning it could collapse if even one part failed.
Which also means it has been 'fracture critical' ever since it was built in 1955. It simply took this long for an oversize load to smack it.

Here's some ideas for our hapless media to pursue when they're not trying to surreptitiously blame this on the Tea Party: 1) oversize loads are required to have pilot cars with measurement antennae to determine whether bridges or overpasses are too narrow or low for safe passage. Where is the driver of the pilot car? Who does he work for? Who owns the truck? What was the name of the driver? Why wasn't he held longer, at least until the FBI determined there was no 'foul play'?  Or will they interview him later?  Why did the witness driver of the pickup who ended up in the river with his wife say the following, if indeed the load was too high:
"I was commenting to my wife that it seemed that the load he was carrying was about 4 feet wider than the actual bridge," he said.
Was it too high or too wide?  Did they misquote him or was he confused?  He said the truck hit the side of the bridge, not the top.  The state says it was too high.    How fast was the truck going that it managed to destroy the bridge but safely make it across the damaged span? How far behind the truck was the witness pickup driver?

No matter.  Clearly, if Obama's infrastructure bill had not been blocked by the GOP this tragedy wouldn't have happened

MORE  5/25/13

Could these morons be any clearer in trying to help Obama blame this on the GOP?  Right now, on CNN's website, a screaming headline exists in large font type: "Is Your Bridge Safe?".   It goes on to say that 600 bridges have failed since 1989 and that nobody in Congress, or even the taxpayers, want to pay more in taxes to address this crisis.

But at the bottom of their article they include the following (my emphasis):
"We want these bridges to be safe," said Herrmann. "But we need to provide the funding, the investment to make them safe."

The number of America's deficient bridges has actually decreased "ever so slightly over the last couple of years," Herrmann said. That's mostly because of increased funding from state and local governments, he said.
Is that a good sign? Herrmann said yes, but he added, "If we don't start accelerating we could start losing ground."
Unbelievable.  CNN is whining about lack of money to fix bridges then report that bridges are being fixed because there has been more money spent.  With no trace of irony.   Wait, no, it's quite believable. If you were expecting the mainstream media to turn on the Obama folks after these recent scandals, keep dreaming.

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