This Just In: August 22 - 29 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Icon't Believe It! Summary: A "weeping" religious icon makes its way to a Mercer County church. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: David Highfield, "Live" When it Aired: Aug. 17 Running Time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds Visuals: The faithful lining up to examine the icon. Highlights: * When anchor Stacy Smith asks, "Was it a miracle at a local church tonight? Did this icon weep?" * When Highfield elaborates, "Well Stacy, the story goes that this priest in Philadelphia saw oil coming from the icon's eyes. That was back in 2004. Now, since then it has reportedly happened other times, and people at this church believe it happened again tonight." * Highfield recounting, "It happened after the service; as singing began, people say they noticed a change in the St. Anne icon." * When a Slickville woman on the verge of her own tears emotes, "I saw tears coming from the side of her eye. Some liquid coming down, yes." Highfield asks, "And it wasn't there to begin with?" She answers, "No, no. All of sudden, I saw it coming." * When a woman from St. Clairsville, Ohio, reports, "When we were singing the hymns ... we could see some tearing or moisture on the icon." * When the church's reverend claims, "The icon began to perspire in certain spots ... and the right eye began to well up." * When Highfield adds, "People in [this church] lined up to examine the icon. Some knelt before it, others kissed it. In this picture you may be able to see what appears to be a shiny spot below the hand." He continues, "And in fact, many gathered at this rural church nestled in the woods believe they witnessed something powerful." * When the reverend assures us: "In a world that constantly tells us that God is not around, and that he's very far away -- if he exists at all -- this reminds us that he's very much present and very much here." * When Highfield pitches, "Now the icon will remain at the church for viewing until 4 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. But [the priest] suggests you might want to call before you head out. Now for the phone number and directions to that church, you can check out our Web site ..." What We Learned: St. Anne can weep all she wants, but phooey on her -- it's all about God, God, God! Unanswered Question: Why do I feel like I just watched a religious infomercial? News Value: 0. Forgive me, but aren't reporters supposed to be at least somewhat skeptical? Shouldn't we at least be offered some kind of "scientific" explanation for this alleged phenomenon, instead of being fed it as "truth" unquestioned? Second Class Blues Summary: Are first-class security lines at airports open to all? Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Jim Parsons When it Aired: Aug. 17 Running Time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds Visuals: Inside a very busy Pittsburgh International Airport. Highlights: * When Parsons declares, "Starting today, the federal Transportation Security Administration took over all of the ticket check-in of passengers at the security area at Pittsburgh International. Before today, that was the job of a private company that was paid by the airline. So we thought, since the government's now taken this over, that the first-class security line would be gone. But it's still there." * When Parsons conveys, "It was a 15-minute wait to get through security Friday afternoon at Pittsburgh International. Unless you had a first-class ticket. In this line, there was no wait at all. Now you might think because first-class passengers spend more for their ticket, they should get a special line ... the thing is, they don't pay any more to the federal government for a security fee than coach passengers do." * When he adds, "If you're wondering why the federal government gives preferential treatment to wealthier travelers, the TSA has an answer for you." * When federal security director Joe Terrell says, "Our folks have absolutely no interest at all in the class of the ticket." * When Parsons explains, "And even though it's now a TSA employee instead of an airline contractor ... the airlines still control how people queue up." * When Parsons asks Terrell, "So in terms of lining up, then, why couldn't somebody with a coach ticket go up to your TSA employee in the first-class line?" He answers, "Our folks wouldn't pay any attention to that, to be honest."" * When Parsons asks a young male traveler, "What about this first-class line? What's preventing you from going over there? Do you know?" He responds, "Uh, no." * When Parsons wraps, "Now we should mention that while TSA doesn't care which security line that passengers get into, US Airways might. That is the company that is still paying an employee to shoo people away from first-class lines. Good luck next time you travel." What We Learned: Patience, grasshopper! Unanswered Question: Can you imagine how they treat steerage? News Value: 6. This story is especially relevant now that waiting has become a serious problem with airline travel. I've used the "fast line" before at the urging of employees working the line -- even though I didn't have a first-class ticket on several occasions.

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