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Author Topic: What did NBC know, and when did it know it?  (Read 993 times)
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Desmond
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« on: October 25, 2004, 04:14:09 PM »

From what we know of how the tragic events unfolded Sunday, it appears that NBC was a lap down in covering the story.

No one watching the telecast knew of the missing Hendrick Motorsports plane before the end of the race at 5:20 Eastern time.  On last night's Speed News NASCAR Edition, Bob Dillner implied that he knew the plane was off of radar screens while the race was in progress.

Also, there were local reports of some kind of plane crash about this time.  A news service called Star News had already managed to get into the area.  Couldn't NBC had told viewers that there was a crash in the area around the speedway, even if it didn't know exactly what?  Or that "a NASCAR plane" was missing?  This would cover the story while keeping the specifics away from Hendrick Motorsports, as had been promised.

Finally, the all-news channels weren't much better.  None of them interrupted programming as soon as they knew of the missing plane, which is standard operating procedure.  Fox News Channel did not report the plane problem until 6 p.m., about 40 minutes after the race was over.  But an hour later, all the details came out: there was a crash seven miles from the speedway, the Star News footage was out there, and some names were also released (Ricky and John Hendrick; Randy Dorton).

How did we get from knowing nothing to getting all this footage in less than two hours?  I was prepared to have to wait all night for information.

This in no means diminishes the profound pain felt by everyone in NASCAR and particularly those at Hendrick Motorsports.  This only serves as a reminder that the networks gaining the rights to broadcast NASCAR races are not journalists.  And that, in this case, those who are in the journalism business did not do their jobs.
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Vivian
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2004, 04:24:38 PM »

At this point, I think they just were trying to protect all involved in their Chase.  Not only the Hendrick people but everyone, as any chit chat on scanners could have gotten into the wrong people's hands.  Then how would anyone concentrate for the rest of the race?  The show must go on regardless and I do believe things were still very sketchy and that Rick was calling the shots for Nascar at that point hoping against hope...
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Desmond
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2004, 05:29:20 PM »

That's fine, Vivian.  But there was, as they say in the military, a "failure in the chain of command."  The federal government via the NTSB could have overruled NBC, or at the very least, made the information available to Fox News, MSNBC or CNN.

This is not the death of Dale Earnhardt, when only NASCAR could have given us information.  Whenever an airplane crashes or goes missing, it then becomes the responsibility of the NTSB.

I tuned in to all-news TV expecting more info as soon as the race ended, but did not get it.  If you read the post again, that was one of my points.
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sally
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2004, 05:53:18 PM »

Desmon, perha[s this will answer some of your questions.  It appears that, because of the fog, it took a long time for anyone to know anything for sure.



http://www.bristolnews.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=TRI%2FMGArticle%2FTRI_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031778729249&path=Variables.path



sally
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Cheryl
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2004, 02:26:33 AM »

I'm not sure how many watched the special on the plane crash tonight on Speed News after IWCR.  They did point out that because of the rugged terrain on the mountain where they plane went down, nothing was actually confirmed until rescue workers got in there around 7 p.m. Sunday night.  This pretty much coincides with when Speed News released the info as to who was killed last night.  

We were all very interested in hearing the news last night at the campground and frustrated that no one was releasing info for so long; but when you hear that they didn't know for sure that there were no survivors until that late, it makes more sense to me.  Such a terrible tragedy and to lose 4 people from the same family.  How horrible...

Cheryl
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Desmond
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2004, 04:17:32 PM »

OK, so now I understand.  I think I faulted NBC too much without more information.

I think I expected this story to be covered as extensively as when Payne Stewart's plane went down in 1999 (ironically, five years ago Monday exactly).  Looking back, though, there are so many differences between the stories.

The media was able to follow the Stewart tragedy so well because radar was able to track the plane (after cabin pressure dropped and the plane went on autopilot) and the Air Force was looking for it.  In the Hendrick tragedy, it was just a matter of the rescuers getting there, as Sally and Cheryl wrote.  No one could really report anything new.

I still think some parts of the Hendrick story could have been told earlier, but it would have been questionable at best.  Every journalist has to watch him/herself now, especially after the Jayson Blair and CBS/Bush/National Guard "documents" scandal.
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Cheryl
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2004, 04:39:25 PM »

Quote from: "Desmond"
OK, so now I understand.  I think I faulted NBC too much without more information.


I think they did the best they could with the confirmed information they had.  Last night, I rewound my tivo recording of the race and watched the post-race comments from Jim Hunter.  I also recorded an extra 1 1/2 hours after the race.  NBC did come on the air near the end of that timeframe and announce who was on the plane, I believe.  So, I think they followed up on the story as soon as the rescue teams determined there were no survivors.

Cheryl
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old hot rodder
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2004, 05:07:43 PM »

Cheryl, I heard on XM this morning that the plane hit the mountain about 300 feet from the top, and rescuers had a really tough time getting to it.
  I don't fault the media at all in this case.
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ronbarnes77
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2004, 06:07:48 PM »

cheryl i think nbc did a great job considering the the conditions also the ntsb has a policy that they will not release any reports about a crash until the information is confirmed onsite.
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