CNN 'Dunk on Rich Dead OceanGate Guys' Panel Shut Down by Guest Who Set Record Straight

AP Photo/Bill Sikes

The confirmed implosion of the OceanGate Titan submersible has brought out a variety of strong opinions on the topic of the attempted undersea trip itself including commentary on the five now-deceased passengers, the wisdom of undertaking such an endeavor, etc.


Some of the (understandable) criticism of the doomed vessel’s short voyage has centered around OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, 61, and how he allegedly cut corners when it came to safety and dismissed those who raised concerns. There was also the issue of Rush, in an undated interview, openly embracing wokeness when it came to hiring experienced white submariners, who he believed were not “inspirational” enough to younger generations:

“When I started the business, one of the things you’ll find, there are other sub-operators out there, but they typically have, uh, gentlemen who are ex-military submariners, and they — you’ll see a whole bunch of 50-year-old white guys. I wanted our team to be younger, to be inspirational and I’m not going to inspire a 16-year-old to go pursue marine technology, but a 25-year-old, uh, you know, who’s a sub pilot or a platform operator or one of our techs can be inspirational.”

I get that there’s going to be criticism for taking on such a risky adventure, along with criticism over the fact that Rush was woke on some level and apparently looked the other way on the issue of safety. I also get that there are going to be people who believed that any rescue effort that potentially would have involved more loss of life should not have been undertaken for people who knew the risks they were taking from the outset.

All of those criticisms are valid and speak to questioning a person’s judgment. That’s relevant, and it’s newsworthy.


But what I don’t get is how a lot of the criticisms have devolved into “let’s dunk on the rich dead guys,” which my RedState colleague Brandon Morse wrote about here. I mean it’s almost like some folks, primarily on the left and in the media from what I’ve seen, took perverse pleasure in the deaths of the individuals onboard the craft, including Suleman Dawood, the 19-year-old son of British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, who was also on the sub, because they happened to be rich thrillseekers.

Take, for instance, the CNN “This Morning” panel from Friday, where CNN anchor and chief business correspondent Christine Romans and panelists put a heavy emphasis on the wealth of those who lost their lives, at one point even patting themselves on the backs for not being like those who wanted to see the wreckage of the Titanic, as though being rich and wanting to attempt such a voyage were major character flaws:

ROMANS: So, look, this is a market for rich thrill seekers. We’re talking ultra high net worth individuals, people with $30 million or more. And they’re going on things like 24-day private jet tours around the country. They’re going to helicopter into base camp on Mount Everest. They’re spending $250,000 to go to the bottom of the ocean. And these trips to space, Virgin Galactic just said last week, it’s announcing trips to space starting next month, and those are going to be $450,000 a pop to become a private astronaut. And they’ve already sold 800 tickets.

It’s a really big market for a small group of super rich people. And these are people who have made their money by not following the rules, by maybe breaking rules, by taking a lot of risks. So, they are risk takers by nature. That’s how they got their money. And they are thrill seekers. I mean, one of the people who sadly perished on this trip has three Guinness World Records and has done a bunch of other stuff, too, including going to space.

So, it’s almost an addictive kind of adventure travel, costs a lot of money.


ROMANS: They know that it’s a risk. In fact, that’s why they do it, because it is a risk. And it is such a thrill to be able to do these things that most mere mortals can never touch. I actually have no desire to go to Mount Everest, by the way and —

SOLOMON: This is their busiest season, one of their busiest climbing during. So, certainly —

MATTINGLY: Well, I think seven people died during that climbing season. Look, Elie has got that kind of money and that type of risk.

HONIG: I’m neither rich nor a thrill seeker.


Later, CNN’s Anderson Cooper had on a guest, U.S. construction developer Alfred Hagen, who took two rides on the Titan vessel to see what’s left of the Titanic and who was also friends with French deep sea explorer Paul-Henri “Mr. Titanic” Nargeolet, 77, one of the people who perished last week on the ill-fated trip.

During the segment, Hagen blasted the emphasis on the wealth of the Titan’s passsengers:

And I’m tired of people coming in now to insult, you know, the high achievers and disparage wealthy people that want to, you know, break trail for the rest of humanity and then come in and ban the dead corpses. I mean, I’m tired of that. And these are risktakers. Risktakers have always driven humanity forward. You know, and that’s – and taking risk is what distinguishes us as men. And, you know, it’s the divine spark.

If we didn’t take risks, we would never have crossed the oceans. We would never have learned to sail. We would never have left the surly bonds of earth. We would – and we wouldn’t be in space. And we certainly wouldn’t be exploring the depth of the ocean.

And, you know, James Cameron, I have great respect for. And if he says the carbon fiber is not the appropriate shell, then I will agree with him. And we’re going to learn from that and move on.

But Stockton Rush was also correct. The oceans are fundamental to our future. The elements that will power the green economy are all on the seafloor.


Watch partial clips from both segments below, the one involving the panel and one between Cooper and Hagen:

Some will argue that this particular deep-sea endeavor wasn’t about “trailblazing,” but I would argue that with Rush and Nargeolet onboard that it was by default since it’s what the two of them did. But even though reasonable people can disagree on that point, what Hagen said about the importance of wealthy people investing in deep-sea exploration is inarguable in my view (whether one agrees with the “green economy” aspect or not).

After all, it’s one thing to take issue with Rush in particular on some of the points previously made about how he ran things, but it’s another to take delight when someone fails and in this case, dies, simply on the basis that they are rich and can do what most “mere mortals” likely never will.

Related: ‘Reporter’ Provides Exhibit B on How Woke Women Will Be the Downfall of Our Society


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