BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield. Some news you have to dig for. Other news, powered by a winch and sheer national will, literally rises to the surface.
FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: The group of miners trapped underground for 17 days are still alive. The men were -
MALE CORRESPONDENT: The drill that it’s hoped will save the lives of 33 miners trapped half a mile underground in Chile makes its first bite into the soil.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: A cage especially built to help rescue 33 men trapped underground in a mine in Chile has arrived at the mine head.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: People from around this country, from around the world, watching live video underground as the rescue, unprecedented in the world’s history, takes place here…
BOB GARFIELD: The world was transfixed and elated this week by the television rescue of 33 men who had been trapped for 69 days more than 2,000 feet underground in a Chilean mine, seventeen of those days starving in darkness. The presidents of Chile and Bolivia were there, the families were there in a makeshift desert campground called Hope. More than 2,000 media personnel were there and a billion TV viewers worldwide. It was the World Cup of empathy, the moon landing of extrication. We cheered, we cried. The miners’ liberation was our liberation. Even cable stopped shouting, shilling and obsessing for one magnificent day.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: There we go! There it is! Bravo! Success!
[CHEERS FROM CROWD, WHISTLES] He’s made it to the surface!
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] Wow, it worked! It worked just like they said. It worked.
BOB GARFIELD: There is a silly commonplace along the lines of “We need one day a week when the media report only good news,” which is something like “We need one day a week when we replace medicine with candy.” But let me tell you, the mine rescue was candy, sweet, delicious and, most importantly, bite-sized candy. No wonder the photographers and reporters stampeded over Camp Hope, hoping to get a glimpse of the ascending folk heroes. No wonder the agents and promoters were on hand, offering movie contracts and product endorsements and tell-all publicity deals to the ascending celebrities. No wonder the miners had to sign an all-for one, one-for-all pact to share all proceeds of their stories. And no wonder Chilean authorities had to censor media going into the mine and coming out, lest some bid of unmediated unpleasantness trigger a freak-out below ground or above. “This is a rescue operation,” the general manager of the mining company was quoted as saying, “not a reality show.” [LAUGHS] Oh, yes it was. The whole world now knows of the love triangle, one miner’s wife in a nervous vigil adjacent to the nervous vigil of the same miner’s girlfriend. The whole world knows who, among the miners was the scared one, who was the wise one, who was the sick one, who was the depressed one, who was the funny one. The world even knows that some of what happened 2,000 feet below was so awful that the sacred pact includes secrets to be taken to the grave. How yummy. Plus, the whole story was self contained, which is to say, easy and relatively cheap to report, although the BBC has said that its 100,000 pounds invested in the Chilean rescue may limit its coverage of other events, such as the G-20 and the Oscars. But the point is, the money paid for reporters on the scene, reporting. Of course, cable news is still cable news, so tell me, FOX’s Steve Harrigan, 33 lives are being saved before our eyes. How do you feel?
STEVE HARRIGAN: You know, emotion is contagious, and this is an unusual kind of emotion, I think, for journalists to be around, where people are really thrilled.
BOB GARFIELD: Thanks, Steve. And tomorrow on FOX -
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FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: A young hunter fights for his life when four bears attack. Twenty-one-year-old Chad Fortune was bow-hunting deer in Michigan. While he was in a tree stand, the bears climbed up after him.