Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter
Joined: Aug. 2001
||Posted: Sep. 28, 2003 9:43 am/pm
|Quote (bishopsnet @ Sep. 27, 2003 10:23 am/pm)|
|Well Carol, |
That was informative. Look, I understand what your trying to say. I thought about all that before I posted the topic. But I just don't see that as being the reason. I hate to look on the negative, but an investigation is an investigation. What I mean is, every investigation whether it is a murder or a theme park ride has guidelines to follow. However, that doesn't stop the media from finding out and posting every piece of "suspected" evidence. For example, in the Laci Peterson case I hear something new almost every week. They just don't wait until all the facts are in. The information is always leaked somehow. Even in the Space Shuttle investigation you mentioned earlier, it was I think less than a week before they were telling us what they thought had possibly happened. I just think its funny that we haven't heard anything. They haven't just been spinning there wheels for weeks to come up with nothing. And what about the witnesses? Nobody thought to ask them what they think happened? I personally haven't heard of any interviews with witnesses.
Basically when I said "something smells", this is what I had in mind. Disney Corp. has had some recent financial troubles. The good people of Anaheim rely on The Disneyland Resort as a revenue booster for the city. So right there you have a biased "city" investigator. That's why I believe the families of the deceased have hired their own investigators. And then, like I said before, we haven't really gotten any news from the witnesses. If I were in Mike Eisners' shoes, I would be trying to keep this thing under wraps. Especially, if my corporation is struggling. No need to have a drop in attendance because the public found out something crazy like, say for instance, Disney wasn't maintaining the rides properly.
So, it could be that the investigation is just taking a while and they have been stumped on this incident or it could be that they are just trying to figure out the settlements (payoffs) and a version of the story that smoothes the public over. I wouldn't rule out the latter though.
P.S. Not tryn to hate on ya Carol. Your version does sound valid.
Thank you for the reply you wrote back, Bishopsnet. I'll try to address some of your points.
Re: 24 Hour news channels coverage of space shuttle disintegration and Laci Peterson cases revealing and leaking information and news tidbits: Here's a primer on how news gathering in 2003 works. I say this from some experience since I used to work in radio and TV as a journalist and newscast producer and Rich my husband currently does work in a local TV news operation and the places we work/ed used to submit stories to their major network affiliated news or CNN when the situation was "big" enough to do so, or sometimes the network guys come to where we are to cover the story and the local station provides editting and satellite uplink facilities. OK: Sometimes there are scheduled events, such as press conferences, trial dates in a criminal or civil case, announcements of grand openings or ground breakings, or some other known event so that a news gathering organization will know about it and refer it to an individual called "assignment editor" or "city desk editor" to schedule on a calendar for a future date. That date arrives and the assignment editor might assign a reporter and photographer, just a reporter, or a camera crew or radio person to go personally to check it out. Sometimes reporters come up with their own ideas for stories, features, follow-ups, and if those ideas seem substantive enough the assignment editor will schedule it for coverage. Then there is listening to the police scanner in the newsroom. Certain law enforcement and fire department codes mean "accident with injuries" or "fatalities" or "shooting" or "armed robbery" and depending where it is and the sound of the chatter sounds serious and urgent then off at least a video crew will go, a radio reporter phones law enforcement to get an audio interview and a newspaper reporter might either go or work the phones. They cover the breaking news and as part of that future dates for investigation, arraignment, future news conferences, etc. will pop up and that gets scheduled on the assignment editor's calendar for future follow-up coverage. No two events or days are the same, and of course in the case of something particularly serious new facts come out within hours of each newscast. Newsroom people, print, radio and TV, know this territory in and out. Accidents with fatalities happen all the time, in cars, on the freeways, at construction sites, inside amusement parks, freak accidents happen with the weather, you name it. The investigative process when done by law enforcement, a district attorney's office, a governmental regulatory agency, all have lengths of time, prescribed by law, within which to get the task of finding out the "why and how" in fact form accomplished. News agencies know this because they deal with it every day, not just about Disneyland or major corporation entertainment entities, but about every place a fatality of any kind can happen.
News agencies do indeed follow-up on news stories but they are not going to fill their news space in the paper or air time on radio or TV or cable with "Well, nothing new about the case today" or "Remember yesterday when we told you there was nothing new about case? Still true today, nothing new." and etc. "Nothing new today" isn't news. And a steady stream of that is boring to readers, listeners and viewers. If it's boring to readers, listeners and viewers those readers, viewers and listeners are going to skip or tune out that news source and find another. When readers, listeners and viewers tune out of a newspaper or radio or TV or cable news channel habit the ratings decline. If the ratings decline the advertisers feel their ad dollars aren't well spent for the amount of exposure they were promised. Don't be upset by this: In a free market economy advertising is a valid business and it's how newspapers, radio, TV and cable validly make their money...it's not a public service although in radio and TV they operate under Federal license and must do so according to Federal and other regulations. Anyway, the point here is there are indeed follow-up phone calls being made on a regular basis by either the city editor desks, radio reporters or TV assignment desk staffers to those law enforcement or regulatory agencies "Anything new today?" and experienced reporters know the staffs and press offices at these agencies and know how to ask questions to elicit information. When you are in the news media as your livelihood, trust me, the Los Angeles-Southern California market is #2 in the country, after New York City, and other than working in NY or one of the major networks in broadcast you have reached the pinnacle of your profession, cream of the crop only, no newbies or spineless jellyfish or starry-eyed need apply. The ratings competition is fierce and they want people to keep reading, listening or viewing on a minute-by-minute basis. They know when it's a waste of time and resources to cover a story and when to keep digging. Part of what they have to know to know when to keep digging and when to let a process take it's course and come back later is to know laws, regulatory agencies laws, and how those agencies work and investigate. If the highly competitive news industry in California can't come up with anything substantive yet it means the investigation is ongoing, these agencies are playing it close to the vest, and the news media has to fill their column space and air time with other stories for the time being.
I dug around on Mouse Planet's Disneyland discussion board and Laughing Place's Disneyland discussion board. Had to go back 7 pages of threads on Mouse Planet and 3 pages on Laughing Place to find anything like a shred of new information. The most recent tidbits being about 9 days ago when the Los Angeles Times wrote a story about past accidents reported to California regulatory agencies on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain, which include mostly a heart attack and dizziness (according to state law if someone complains to that agency it must be noted, even when the complaint is 'only' dizziness). Posters on Mouse Planet, where I read this, dismiss this article as "Must've been a slow news day for the LA Times today to report that". Another tidbit has to do with Disneyland's official WWW site finally updated the rehab schedule for rides in the park so that Big Thunder is closed 'indefinitely.' Mouse Planet posters seem consistent that Big Thunder will be closed at least a year. Most recent post under that thread reads that Disneyland couldn't possibly announce a definite reopening date until the investigation is completed. The last real substantive discussion took place within a week or the accident on both sites.
Something to know about Mouse Planet and Laughing Place. Mouse Planet was founded by Al Lutz and others after reading an posting on alt.disney.disneyland newsgroup on Usenet got to be so voluminous. Mouse Planet, under Lutz, got to be known as a Disney watchdog site, loving the history but decrying what the park has become, in their minds. Although Mouse Planet covers all aspects of Disney and all the Disney parks in the world, it's heart and soul is Disneyland coverage. Pretty much dittoes for Laughing Place. They post links to newspaper and WWW site headlines with true news to report about anything Disney. Their coverage of the accident that day and night was up-to-the-minute, sensitive and based on knowledge of Disneyland and all that's gone on there in the past, good, bad and ugly. They have regulars who report and post on the discussion boards who have Annual Passes and who go all the time, daily even, just to keep up with what's new and report to others about it. These folks truly do know every blade of grass that grows in the park. If something about the investigation or news coverage of it were amiss, there would be recent postings, postings of "today" nature. And I had to dig back that far to find anything truly substantive. All the rest is rumor and chit-chat and speculation and putting 2-cents in and "What if we could redesign Frontierland...." and that sort of thing.
The news media on 24-hour national cable news channels, Fox included, need content 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day. The operations have their reporters, affiliates, wire services, and assignment desks same as on the local level. They cover news that is of interest of a national and international nature. They also have a lot of time to fill. Amusement park accidents happen and get coverage. But these are also cream of the crop highly experienced people too. They are not going to air "Nothing new, folks, in the case of ____" because that also sends people to pick up their remote controls and go "click" to another station. They are also evolving, unfortunately, into running scandal, sensationalism and "If it bleeds, it leads" (any death especially grisly and heart-tugging ones will top each hour's newscast 'til something else takes precedence) into the ground. That they do report little facts and leaks, no matter how obscure or "out in left field" it may be, because the field is competitive and waiting for investigations to play out is so dull. They have to fill their air time 24 hours a day with something. So they find shards and fragments of information and they do report rumor as fact, air it, then find talking heads to talk about it. They feel that, for instance, Laci Peterson was an attractive lady, due to give birth, and she died in a still undetermined way. In fact, her remains were buried and the justice system is engaging in putting the trial case together as well as defending her husband. There is nothing visually interesting about that. Like Jon Benet Ramsey or other high profile cases, these people when alive were visually attractive and the news channels feel they can milk it and milk it and milk it dry and when dry go back for more. When you take 20 steps back from it you realize not all that much truly new or important has come out and all the 24 hour news channels are doing is milking little tidbits dry since they cannot wait 'wil the actual trial. When you assess 24 hour news channel coverage all defendants are found guilty immediately, when our justice system presumes innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. The news media is to cover news, not try cases in public.
There are various events vying for public attention in the news. The War in Iraq. The California Gubernatorial Election and Recall. If life were more routine, as in prior to 9/11, Southern California news media might submit the Disneyland accident at Big Thunder Mountain to more sensational scrutiny than today. They are preoccupied with the recall and gubernatorial election. And if anything truly substantive and truly new and of major enough interest in the accident investigation were to emerge, news media would indeed report it and the various Disneyland WWW discussiono boards would be alive with it. They're not. Nothing new. Nothing suppressed. Other news is happening and an accident investigation is ongoing.
East New Orleans is a depressed suburb of the city where we live around. At one time it was a growing suburb, now it's just emptier and businesses don't thrive there. Some operators got a big regional amusement park built there, Jazzland. It underwhelmed folks and has struggled the past couple of years since opening. Six Flags bought it, made some changes, reopened it, some say it's better but it's got to re-establish itself, get some new big ticket rides in there and work hard to bring people in. A grandmother brought her 4 year old grandson there last spring. Was strapping her grandchild into a whirl-a-whirl-type ride for kiddies. Was busy doing that and the ride started while the grandmother was still there, and she got violently struck in the head and died. Was it her fault? Operator error? Mechanical error? Some of the above or something else? It occupied news for a day or two after it happened. But the accident investigation is on and there is nothing to cover until that process is complete. The park reopened but I don't know attendance figures. Fatal accidents aren't attractive to patrons, and the part of town it happened in is still waiting for a white knight company or attraction to lure people and businesses back to it. Similar to how Disneyland now is in Anaheim. City officials aren't suppressing news coverage. News media in print, radio and TV see nothing really to cover since the economic problems in that part of town are well-known, ongoing and Six Flags Jazzland's problems are well-known and ongoing. When the season for Jazzland ends and they shut down 'til spring 2004, some coverage will be paid to whether the park had an overall successful season or not and whether the fatality had an impact. But that won't be for another month or two. So they cover other events in the city. Similarly, Disneyland's problems can be traced to the failure of Disney's California Adventure to catch on to the public. There is no "breaking news" to cover there on a daily basis, so the news media doesn't. When something happens important enough to cover, the news media is there. Anaheim's dependency on Disneyland tourism and support businesses is ongoing. Tourism all over the US is trying to recover after 9/11. It isn't just Disney and Anaheim plugging along hoping for better times and trying to find the right tourism promotion strategy to prompt reluctant folks to travel. But if it's ongoing, already rather thoroughly covered in other prior stories and nothing much new has happened since, there is no reason for the news media to report "Here's another story about the same ongoing thing, folks!" That also is a tune out, if it's unnecessarily repetitive.
Michael Eisner is documented as having an ego problem and stockholders likely would wish he'd retire already and name a successor. But with regard to the legal and regulatory atmosphere of corporate governance and malfeasance going on, of course Disney is going to step carefully but they can't hide anything. Are they, as Al Lutz at MiceAge alleges, shredding documents crucial to the investigation? Who knows? Who knows Al Lutz's sources for that allegation? Do the sources have an ax to grind, or are they deliberately feeding Al dirt and falsehoods to fulfill some kind of agenda? No one knows, do they, and if they do know they aren't talking or having press conferences about it. People on Mouse Planet's and Laughing Place's Disneyland discussion boards tend lately to dismiss Al Lutz as a crackpot and chronic complainer and naysayer, a half-cocked vigilante who has a gift for articulate writing but may not always be accurate. There's a ton of things Michael Eisner ought to be doing that used to be done by his corporate partner Frank Wells before Wells was killed in 1994 in a helicopter accident. There is no Frank Wells to tell Michael Eisner "no" or when ideas are bad ideas. But by law, since the last fatal accident at Disneyland on the Columbia ship, regulatory and law enforcement investigators were given first crack at the accident scene to gather evidence and Disney could access it only after the investigators were gone. By law Disney would have had to keep certain records of maintanance and turn these over to authorities. There is nothing much Michael Eisner can do but cooperate and urge his managers and staffers to do the same. Until the facts of the investigation are known in a published and publicly announced way there is nothing anyone can do. These things take time, thank goodness they do because no one wants a rush to judgement on something so serious.
There can be no settlements or payoffs if no suits have been filed. Trust too that attorneys retained by accident victim families are also investigating and have to go at the same pace as the regulatory and law enforcement investigations go. The attorney's for plaintiffs can't say, or leak, anything if it's not time or not to their own advantage yet they too are sworn to uphold the law and follow proper judicial process. Plaintiffs attorneys are not going to file a lawsuit 'til the facts are in, and if the investigative process is ongoign they have to wait for official findings same as the public is doing.
Life isn't like a fast food drive up or nice, neat 30-or-60 minute TV drama. It's delivery of satisfying product or outcome to storylines by nature take longer and are less dramatic and flashy. Style over substance attracts audiences but doesn't sustain in the long term. Real life works differently than fast food or fictional drama. This is real life and this is how real life works. You are welcome to believe differently. However, that updates on news and discussion on prominent Disney-Disneyland WWW discussion forums aren't alking about the accident or even speculating on it anymore is a major clue. There's nothing going on.
You can dig around for this stuff as well as I can in order to verify. Go over to www.mouseplanet.com, www.laughingplace.com and read their Disneyland message forums on the date of the accident and then forward to present day, read all the messages about the accident on the news group on Usenet called alt.disney.disneyland, Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register WWW sites and join up to get news updates or research back in time, look ongoing at Southern California TV station news department WWW sites, any national news cable channel WWW sites, read Bernard Goldberg's book "Bias", you can even phone the newsrooms of these places and ask them "Why aren't you covering the Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain accident that happened a few weeks ago more than you are?" You can submit Letters to the Editor demanding to know where the investigative news coverage is. If you're that passionate about it, go for it. Dig around, sample other people's postings, catch the wind direction and speed and trends elsewhere. Check it out to your own satisfaction.
People in the meantime wait for the news but they don't dwell on it. They enjoy what is open and enjoyable about Disneyland in the meantime. They get on with life in the meantime. They regret the sadness of what happened, abhor the natur of it, hope something can happen to fix it so it doesn't happen again, they think well of the victims and their families....and they move on with life. Anything that can be said or discussed has already been. 'Til something truly new and substantive comes out, in a healthy progressive way, they simply move on with their lives since there is nothing more to say or can be done. Hard-core Disney fans on these message forums care as much as you do, but they too are moving on but keeping an eye out. Peruse these places Mouse Planet, Laughing Place and alt.disney.disneyland and see for yourself.
But I still respectfully submit if you feel you want to "do something" contribute a day's Disneyland expenses you'd normally spend there to the victim's funds to help offset their expenses and medical bills.
I respect your opinion, as I hope you will mine, but I agree to disagree with you and wish you well. Maybe, with all due respect and just a suggestion here, step back from the computer, Internet and cable TV news channels and get a breath of air, ride a bike and take a breather for a few days. :-) It's OK to be concerned and wonder what happened, and to feel frustrated and concerned over wanting to know an outcome soon. But reality is it takes time. That's simply the truth.