In the ongoing investigation of the NYC train crash, uncertainty still surrounds the exact reasons behind the crash. In the pursuit for new information, the Wall Street Journal released a story today focusing on a mysterious person that supposedly talked to the train driver. Mr. Rockefeller was released from the hospital Sunday night.
Supposedly, a person spoke to Rockefeller, who “said the driver says he lost focus in the moments before his train jumped the tracks in a sharp curve and crashed.” The driver himself was not reached for comment or directly quoted. This person said that the engineer “zoned out”.
“I think anybody who’s ever driven a car and sort of gotten to that place where you’re not really conscious, and then you snap yourself out of it, that’s in effect what happened,” this person said. “That is exactly how Billy described it.”
This unlisted person continues to tout their opinion about an affliction that Rockefeller suffered from, that caused him to crash the train.
“The person said Mr. Rockefeller might have experienced something similar to “white line fever”—a truckers’ term referring to a trance brought on by long hours watching the dashes of lane dividers flash by.”
The main problem with this entire article is that it fails to give this mystery person any type of credentials or background. The reporter fails to provide any type of connection between this person and the driver. Is this person related to the driver, or just friends and visited him in the hospital?
Another big gaping hole is the reporter using this quote: “The person also said test results would show no drugs or alcohol in Mr. Rockefeller’s system, and that he was not using his cell phone or otherwise distracted. NTSB has not released toxicology reports or cell phone records.”
Again, the reporter fails to provide this person’s credentials or expertise in determining whether alcohol or drugs are present in a person’s system. Did they have access to the samples themselves, or give their own personal, unverified opinion?
This story is not a good example of journalism. It’s entertainment news, an attempt at getting ahead in the news game by talking to an unlisted source. The New York Times have not released any other stories pertaining to this crash, I’m assuming because there has not been any more official documents, interviews or reports released from official investigations.
The Wall Street Journal continually publishes stories using unlisted, unverified sources. Their readers deserve to know where these reporters are obtaining their information. It’s irresponsible. It makes the reporter, editors, and everyone involved at the paper look bad. Journalism is all about interpreting information and uncovering the truth in it. This story accomplishes none of those things.
Edit:The reporters changed this mysterious person to “union officials” in the updated version of this story.