After spending the weekend glued to the television watching coverage of the tragic crane collapse in Midtown, I feel unsettled about the media. I accept that during the day of the accident, reporters may be uninformed about construction procedures and government-enforced inspections. And NY1 did a fantastic job at broadcasting updates, personal stories, and press conferences throughout the day on Saturday. However, by Sunday, reports in all media outlets began a witch-hunt to find the entity most guilty of the accident.
From accusing the crane company for not complying with standards, to criticizing the Department of Buildings’ (DOB) neglect to find any problems during inspections the day before, to calling for Patricia Lancaster, FAIA, to step down from her position as DOB commissioner, the most outrageous claim to me was the focus on the 13 violations that the construction site has received over the last two years. Granted, many reporters added a footnote about how the violations had nothing to do with the crane, but this is the story on which the public and the media seem fixated.
I understand an urgency to find answers to what caused the crane to collapse, but it is uninformed and irresponsible of the media to concentrate on issues that do not have anything to do with the accident itself (as far as we know). Calling for resignations and government overhauls is counterproductive to getting to the root cause of the event. The media would be wise to spend more time researching and understanding construction sites and DOB procedures and codes instead of fixating on misguided finger pointing.