Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bob Murray Loses Another Round

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, courtesy of

See below for an update

Poor Bob Murray. He is so old school that he refused to listen to media consultants in the beginning who would have told him to STFU and get his mug off the TV. Murray talked his way into a mess, especially when the results on the ground got worse and worse for the miners trapped in Crandall Canyon and those 3 rescuers died.

Meanwhile, businessman-turned-ambassador-turned-governor Huntsman sat back and watched the implosion. Not until it was clear how badly everything had gone and how little chance there was of changing things around his Jon jr. begin to trash Murray in his own press conferences.

Rather than pointing out this Jon-y-come-lately and hindsight aspect, Murray went to the old school "we have be reckless with human life because that's the only way to make a profit" mentality:
"If you persist in your statements and course of action, you, Governor, are going to jeopardize 700 jobs in Carbon and Emery Counties," Murray said in a letter [PDF] obtained Friday by the Deseret Morning News.
"I cannot maintain them alone, and I definitely cannot do it if I am going to be your whipping-boy."
Yes, apparently Bob Murray employs all of Emery and Carbon Counties. It is this man's benevolence in allowing these rural men to work in his unsafe mines.

This from a man that is about to be sued by the miners' families to keep the mine from being sealed so that they can at the very least extract their loved ones bodies out from the rubble.

Not only is Murray's argument as ridiculous as it is specious, the miners' families seem to be echoing what Huntsman is saying:
the families feel Murray Energy Corp., the mine owner, has misled them about the effort to find, rescue or recover their loved ones - Kerry Allred, Don Erickson, Luis Alonso Hernandez, Juan Carlos Payan, Brandon Phillips and Manuel Sanchez.
"We don't intend to abandon them," [their attorney Colin] King said.
King cited several reasons for the families' perception that Murray Energy officials had given up on their loved ones.
He said the families were told repeatedly that a large-diameter drill rig capable of boring a hole big enough for a rescue capsule was en route to the mine, "but it never arrived on site and we're suspicious about those statements."
As early as Monday, King added, Olsen and the families had requested the full study done by eight outside experts brought in by Murray Energy and MSHA to evaluate the ground-control system used before the implosion that killed and injured the rescuers.
MSHA released only a three-paragraph statement from the expert panel that said it was too dangerous to send anyone underground to search for the missing miners.
King said "that may or may not be the case. I don't want to second-guess the experts. But we are upset that we were not provided a copy of the [full] report and they did not provide a reason why.
"We would like to see [the report] so we can analyze it and talk to our experts about how we can get in there and get these people out," he added, noting that he already has begun obtaining mining experts as consultants.
King asked Murray Energy officials whether there had been a major bump in March, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, that forced the company to stop mining a long "barrier pillar" of coal adjacent to a large mined-out area. That barrier pillar was left to hold up the mountain overhead.
"Mr. Moore refused to answer," King said.
Was a report about this collapse filed with MSHA, as required by law? he asked.
"Moore refused to answer," King said, while MSHA official Jack Kuzar, who was brought in only recently from Pennsylvania to help with the operation, said he did not know.
"MSHA ought to know at this point," King contended.
Given all of these unsatisfactory responses, the lawyer added, "I can't imagine how [missing miners' spouses] Martha Sanchez and Nelda Erickson are even coping. You do what you have to do. But they need closure."

Mr. Murray is not arguing from a position of strength. He has shown his true colors during the course of this debacle and it isn't pretty. While Huntsman might not have been as "take charge" as others in similar disasters in PA and WV, he avoided having to say that the miners were alive when they were in fact all dead like Gov. Joe Machin did. Politically, Huntsman played this as well as he could without taking unnecessary risks.

Mr. Murray, the letter makes you look only worse as a megalomaniac ower-first businessman of a extraction industry. If I was your PR guy/atttorney, I would have never have let you send that letter.

But as a blogger, you are posting-gold. Keep it comming.


Thanks, Mr. Murray!
Bob Murray made good on his threat to cut jobs in Utah's coal country early this morning.
The owner of three Utah mines met with workers at the Tower Mine in Carbon County at 7 a.m. today. During the meeting, Murray told workers he is shutting down the mine and offered workers there jobs at his other mines in Illinois and Ohio, several laid-off miners said.
He really doesn't think he has the upper hand, does he?

This reminds me of Dr. Evil holding the world hostage for "One MILLION dollars!"

The man gets more cartoonish by the minute. Yeah I am sure a x-th generation central Utah miner is going to pick up and move to Illinois or Ohio. This guy has no clue about our state, our people, or people in general.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Colorful commentary on Bob Murray. As a PR professional, I certainly wonder what kind of advice he got and/or ignored about crisis communications.

John Pilmer wrote a blog post to help CEOs see what they can do to prepare for a similar situation.