Imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to find the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had finally published something about the latest Weldon Spring Cancer Report, issued stealthily by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services late last year, but failed to give credit where credit is due — to me!
On Jan. 23, I was the only investigative reporter on the planet to publish an article about the existence of the new report, known officially as the Analysis of Leukemia Incidence and Mortality Data for St. Charles County, Weldon Spring and Surrounding Areas December 2011 (Update to April 2005 Report) and unofficially as the “Weldon Spring Update” or “2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.” Had it not been for my report, it’s very likely that no one would have learned about the MDHSS report released to me Dec. 29 at 5:04 p.m. after nine months of “birddogging” by yours truly.
Eleven days later, Post-Dispatch medical reporter Blythe Bernhard contacted me about the story I had published. Of course, she asked me to explain my interest in the story and to recount how I had come to obtain the report, etc. In addition, she asked me to put her in contact with some of the people mentioned in my piece.
This morning, Bernhard’s story included only one mention of me in the form of this comment:
“When you have something like this you don’t hide it; you at least let people know because they paid for it, especially people in the affected areas,” said Bob McCarty, who lives in the county and writes a political blog. “I’m not an environmentalist. I’ve never hugged a tree. If it’s all good, so be it, but the one thing they need to do is communicate better.”
While I’m pleased that the story received more attention, I’m disgusted — but not surprised — that the Post-Dispatch took the approach to the story that they did. It’s no wonder the Lee Enterprises-owned newspaper filed for bankruptcy protection last year.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To read my stories about the Weldon Spring Site and related stories, click here.
UPDATE 2/22/12 at 8:15 p.m. Central: Below are links to other local media outlets that picked up on the story I broke Jan. 23:
• Geochemist Highly Critical of Weldon Spring Report (CBS Local)
Be sure to check out my new book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.
UPDATE 3/15/12 at 9:41 p.m. Central: I noticed today that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch scrubbed almost 30 comments from their Feb. 20 story about the Weldon Spring Site. Makes on wonder why they got rid of the comments.