"How Could This Happen?"

Keach Hagey looks back at the top news of the week and how CBSNews.com readers resoinded in The Weekend Skinny.



August opened with a creak and a crash. The Minnesota bridge disaster dominated the week's news with hunts for victims and questions about the nation's infrastructure.

CBSNews.com readers responded with a mixture of disbelief and anger.

"How could this happen?" wrote CBSNews.com commenter tbweb in response to Friday's news that, even as divers searched the river beneath the crumbled structure for missing people, finger-pointing had begun over a federal report two years ago that found the bridge was "structurally deficient."

"How many other bridges across the U.S. are waiting to suffer this same fate due to neglect?" tbweb wrote. "Head should roll, someone is responsible. A national embarrassment!"

Other commenters were less surprised, though no less angry.

"Wake up!" wrote andor3. "America does not have unlimited resources and it is foolish pride to think it does. Where is our tax money spent? On defense ... Meanwhile, bridges fall, levees leak, children go hunger and education of the next generation is neglected."

"Cash Talks": Murdoch Gets The Wall Street Journal

The long, tense dance between Rupert Murdoch and the Bancroft family ended this week with the sale of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones to Murdoch's News Corp. Part of the deal package included the creation of an editorial board that would act as a "buffer" between the media mogul and the newspaper.

CBSNews.com readers were largely unimpressed by the news.

"Murdoch is not paying $5 billion for Dow Jones to operate it status quo," wrote studio41. "The Wall Street Journal will become like any other News Corporation entity."

In response to a Bandcroft family statement that "it is ourmost vervent hope that in the years to come, The Wall Street Journal will continue to enjoy, and deserve, the universal admiration and respect in which it is held all over the world," commenter Hober_Mallow said simply: "But in the end, cash talks."

Sweeping Ethics Reform (Right Under The Table)

Congress was as busy as a college student who'd left all his term papers to the final week before vacation – which is, of course, in a sense, what they did. Among the most significant pieces of legislation passed was the ethics bill, meant to mop up some of the embarrassing lobbying leaks that sprung during the Jack Abramoff scandal, among other things.

In response to the news of the "sweeping ethics reforms" passed by the House on Tuesday, commenter mudrose noted, "Yeah, sure they did. They swept it right under the table."

Not everyone was so cynical. Commenter Ozilot noted, "It's a start."

When the Senate got around to passing its version on Thursday, the commenter cynicism returned. "This is just more window dressing and campaign speech fodder," wrote ObservantX. "There will be no establishment of a truly representative government in this nation until the campaign money faucets are turned off. Until then, we have the best government money can buy, and it's for sale every day, all day long."


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  • Jennifer Hoar

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