Some Morton Thiokol engineers say they're upset at the portrayal of their company in one installment of a recent investigative series that first appeared in the Seattle Times and later in newspapers across the country.
Ray B. Hansen, senior Morton Thiokol engineer and spokesman for the group, said allegations that the company ignored a safety whistle-blower were "misleading" and said the reporters involved were guilty of "abusing the constitutional freedom permitting freedom of the press."Hansen said the story instead focused on a disgruntled temporary employee, who, in the minds of many, had no idea or concept of the functions or hazards associated with solid-rocket motors.
"Often, the news media resort to sensationalism to sell newspapers or air time. Reporting the facts or just telling the story the way it is isn't enough," he said.
"As a result, incorrect assumptions are made and facts become twisted. The story is then blown out of proportion. The public then runs to the news stands only to be misinformed. . . .
"I would challenge the disgruntled informant to stand up straight, confident in his work, before a NASA safety review board consisting of safety personnel from major shuttle-element contractors, and explain his concerns," Hansen said.
"I would very much like to . . . see him justify and defend his logic, if in fact he could."
Hansen said the story also said nothing of the many highly qualified and skilled professional people the company employs - many who work as many as 70 hours a week to make sure the job is done right.
He said many employees have between 20 and 30 years experience in the development, production, testing and flight of solid-rocket motors.