MSNBC’s ‘Countdown’ Trots Out Anti-Coal ‘Expert’ for Mine Collapse Commentary

The media have found their new poster boy to rail against the coal industry. MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," but with Allison Stewart filling in for an absent Olbermann, had anti-coal liberal Jeff Goodell, author of "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future" on the show.Unsurprisingly, he criticized the company involved in the Utah mine collapse, as well as its CEO, Chairman of Murray Energy Corp. Bob Murray. "He is a sort of embodiment of a sort of 19th century kind of coal baron kind of guy," Goodell said and pointed out Murray is "a big donor to the Republican Party" and "sort of notorious with journalists."Goodell also doubted Murray's claim that the collapse was caused by an earthquake."[T]hey're saying, look, this has all the indications of a mine collapse and we don't have much doubt about that," Goodell said. "I mean, they're reserving final word until they really look at this stuff. And, you know, Murray is going around saying that this was caused by an earthquake but really offering no evidence or there is no - he is not telling us why he believes that. He is just asserting that." But Murray has indeed explained why he thought the mine collapse was caused by earthquake. Murray defended the earthquake claims on the August 9 CNN "American Morning.""[F]irst, that same University of Utah [that is now disputing the earthquake claims] told us that it was an earthquake. Second, they told the Sheriff's department that it was an earthquake. Thirdly, the earthquake was a 4.0 on the Richter scale that lasted over four minutes, where there was an aftershock of over two on the Richter scale that lasted over two minutes. That doesn't happen with what we call ‘mountain bumps.'"According to a government report, a "mountain bump," which Murray referred to is a common occurrence in retreat mining and is defined as "the instantaneous explosive failure of coal or associated strata." Evidence shows Goodell has a beef with the coal mining industry.  He has written two books highly critical of coal companies. Goodell also appeared on ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" on August 7 and he compared clean coal to fat-free doughnuts. Goodell is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic and Air America, so he has strong liberal credentials.