East Palestine Ohio: An Ongoing National Embarrassment
On February 3rd, 2023. A Norfolk Southern Train hauling tanker cars of chemicals derailed in the city of East Palestine Ohio. The derailment along with the subsequent actions of rail crews have fallen under the scrutiny of the residents of East Palestine and the media. According to various news sources.
Train crews attempted to do a controlled burn of spilled hazardous chemicals that were disbursed on the ground in the derailment area. This initial attempt of remediation caused a wider disbursement of burned material becoming airborne, and apparently served to do additional damage and widened the hazardous material (HAZMAT) crisis.
The exact reasons behind the actions of crews on the scene are still not completely understood. And it seems that a general lack of transparency has created more fear and more questions.
The main issues currently at hand with the crisis in East Palestine, lies with the railroad, and the federal governments lack of due diligence with emergency response to the situation. This has lead to the crisis becoming politicized by both the government and the media.
Then on today's date, a video appeared on youtube with a “Turning Point USA” watermark on it. In the video, we observe a very sullen Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg enter the frame of the video while being questioned by Journalists.
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The main voice of the video is a female Journalist by the name of Savanah Hernandez. Secretary Buttigieg avoids answering any of her questions, and walks by with a long sullen face. But then another female enters the video and speaks up, stating that she if part of his press staff, she does not provide a name, and she then engages Hernandez.
When Journalist asks some questions about the Transportation Secretary and the failures involved with their response,
the unidentified press staff member demands that all cameras on her be turned off before she provides any information. The journalists present (and two or three voices can be heard on the video) are taken back by the “Staff Member” position. A stand off ensues, as the Staff Member eludes the questions from the journalists the they attempt to negotiate a deal with this unnamed staff member to get a story, but she still sees cameras in the crowd of journalists, so she shrinks back from the conversation.
During this time another person becomes involved, an elderly man with a gray beard (security person?). And he also instructs the journalists to stop taking video. He is rebuffed by Savanah Hernandez, as she tells him that she is a Journalist in public space.
After a few seconds you can hear the man with the gray beard speaking to someone else and telling them that the journalist refused to stop taking video, and sure enough, the police were now intervening.
After a short comment by the Police, the Press Staff Member departs and no questions are answered and no transparency is offered. So much for freedom of the press.
See the video here;