THAT DOG WON’T HUNT: In the past month the Hawai`i Superferry (HSF) story has exploded with first hand eye-witness radio accounts of shoddy welds, rulings on illegal union-busting activity and a race discrimination suit by workers at HSf builder Austal’s ship yard in Alabama.
The articles and the tape of the Katy Rose and Jimmy Trujillo’s radio program have been sourced, copied and perm-linked to death. Most independent news site and blogs have been reporting some facts for almost three weeks now which would ordinarily draw any reporter to the story.
After extensive research PNN has determined no news company in Hawai`i that sells ads to HSf has even mentioned much less covered this story.
Not so nationally. In recent weeks the Birmingham Press-Register reported on Austal regarding a race discrimination suit and an exceptionally unusual National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) condemnation of Austal’s union-busting activities. The disturbing NLRB report itself has been widely available for weeks.
In addition there have been postings regarding HSf operator Hornblower Inc.'s activities in the Bay Area and a boycott of their Alcatraz Ferry operations for their anti-union actions.
This was on the heels of another otherwise ignored story reported by Kaua`i based reporter Joan Conrow on her blog and in Honolulu Weekly regarding the real function of the Superferry as a demonstration project for Austal’s “Littoral combat ships” which closely resemble the Superferry.
Business Week Magazine even reported on the latest military contracting at Austal earlier this month wrapping a ribbon on this connection but still no mainstream media (MSM) coverage in Hawai`i
All of these articles, documents and connections were published, analyzed, explained and rehashed on-line in various well read Hawai`i news blogs such as Disappeared News, Poinography, KauaiEclectic and alternative news sites including Island Breath and SaveKaua`i.
To tie them all together and provide evidence and context three eye-witnesses from Alabama and Austal were sought out by Rose and Trujillo and interviewed on the radio.
Their allegations of shoddy workmanship and lack of proper repairs on the Superferry, racism and anti-worker corporate misconduct on Austal’s part were hair-raising and chicken skin for anyone who listened. The audio was pasted all over the web for any and all to hear this week, with the three interviewees made available to other press should they care to corroborate and further question them or the charges that were made..
And with specific credible statements by the eye-witnesses who work for Austal and have knowledge of the construction and repairs who say that the ship was rushed along and could sink and with all the other documentation there’s still not even a peep from Hawai`i corporate media.
In writing a news story based on allegations it’s important to have multiple sources and to ask those being accused for their story. Despite repeated requests HSf refuses to discuss the allegations. In fact HSf has had a documented history of secrecy, misrepresentations and outright lies.
Some of these were detailed this week in the State Audit. But most revolve around their refusal to talk about any of the serious operational problems that have been reported unless and until they were exposed by outside sources- and then only discussed in the most cursory of manners if not lied about, including while the dry-dock repairs were made.
The Superfery’s undeniable history of distortion, cover-up and outright lies, in many instances has put the traveling public’s safety in jeopardy...hey- that would make for a great news story.
But the Superferry-sponsored corporate press has failed to actually report on it, preferring to publish proven lies by HSf as to everything from ridership, to motives. to dealings with the state, to dealings with the military, to dealings with the federal government.
This has all been extensively detailed over and over by the alternative news sources cited above but even with others doing their work for them reporters and their editors refuse to cover the story.
In this case a refusal to even talk about the allegations-especially coupled with their history of lack of honesty- is a story that more or less causes the allegations to take on a factuality especially if HSf won’t or can’t show any evidence that these documents and eye-witness allegations are anything but true.
Twelve welds a-cracking
Eleven bloggers bloggin’
Ten riders pukin’
Nine editors censorin’
Eight HSf beat reporters not reportin’
Seven surfers blockading’
Six lawsuits pendin’
Five golden facts (ignored by)
Four TV newscasts
Three neighbor island dailies
Two Honolulu newspapers
And a corporate-military boondoggle at the bottom of the sea.
That’s one big matzo ball out there. Good Pesach.