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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where's the grease?

A thoughtful reader writes:

Is it me, or is something important missing with the BP oil spill coverage? More and more I keep seeing pictures of BP "workers" cleaning up the oil spill, in brand new white bunny suits with new floppy hats, new gloves and new safety vests. All without a single drop of oil or sweat on the employees or clothing. The scene always looks like a chain-gang in designer safety clothes to me.

OK, sure they're Photo Ops, and staged; but I would expect by now to see some independent on-scene shots or stories with hot, dirty workers doing hot, dirty work. Haven't seen one yet in print or video. And it always seems that there is a guy in a white BP hardhat nearby too, for interviews or guided tours. It looks like China's minder-style of media coverage is running full tilt in the Gulf. Is BP that big an advertiser that News gets told to follow Sales' instructions for proper coverage?

Actually CBS got a story of a PR photo op with a gaggle of media following a crew "working." The CBS crew then came back 30 minutes later to see them striping out of their bunny suits and back into their street clothes, beers in hand. After all the hours of mind-numbing TV coverage I watched while in the hospital, this was the only real independent news story I've seen.

I'm sure there is real cleanup work getting done down there, just why don't I see it covered independently without a BP PR Team employee nearby? Thoughts?

Comments (12)

Your thoughtful reader seems to have missed the pieces on BP's suppression of coverage of the damage, especially to wildlife. Apparently, BP employs metal detectors to keep cellphones and other devices from being brought to fouled areas. And the workers in the pristine bunny suits are not allowed to wear respirators despite many of them being sickened by the volatilizing petroleum they are being paid to appear to be cleaning up. BP is hardly innovative: this suppressive PR strategy proved useful for Exxon in Alaska.

At this moment, The Daily Show and Colbert may prove more informative to your thoughtful reader than the network and cable mainstream.

If you haven't seen it already, check out the fake BP Twitter feed. Hilarious, and infuriating, since some of the real BP's PR bullsh*t has been just as outrageous as the fake tweets.

Also, GQ has a great account of the blowout and its aftermath.

And, of course:


Is BP that big an advertiser that News gets told to follow Sales' instructions for proper coverage?

If your letterwriter hasn't been seeing any "independent" reportage from the Gulf Coast, it's not the problem of the TV stations and newspapers along the coast, whose coverage has been for the most part excellent -- and whose frustration at the attempted shutdown of media is made clear on a daily basis.

Believe me, BP holds no sway over editorial departments along the Gulf Coast. The media want full access, and are being blocked at every opportunity by private security on public beaches and waterways, despite BP's protestations that it's not happening. It's even happened when reporters have been accompanied by U.S. Senators, including Bill Nelson of Florida and, just yesterday, David Vitter of Louisiana.

For a good overview of the scope of the blackout, check with New Orleans TV stations WWL-TV and WDSU-TV. Read this New York Time story:


... or go to the Mother Jones site, where reporter Mac McClelland is kicking tail.

I've been seeing reports that BP is completely blocking reporters. At one point they had a gag order for all contractors working on clean up. When that was exposed the order was "lifted" but workers/supervisors still wont talk.

Saw one clip where the a reporter was trying to setup a shot showing workers in the background. The supervisors had all the workers cleared out from camera view before the feed went live.

If BP really wants the media to roll over and die for them, they should announce that the oil spill is part of the war on terrorism and American lives are on the line. "People have to watch what they say and watch what they do."

I already told you a few weeks back the Bama administration went into media spin control and is managing media coverage. If BP were in control of media coverage, the Bama could break it with the drop of a hat seeing how the federal government has control of vessels going in and out of impacted areas and there is also the FAA and various other controls on airborne travel. Next in line would be the British government who has been in communication with the Bama on this matter.

Word is Bama early on passed up help from the Dutch offering surplus vessels and booms for oil capture. Seems organized labor what with the Jones Act pulled on Bama's chain to keep dem foreigners out of U.S jobs.

The Dems chose an odd time to choose the economy over the environment. The D in Democrat must stand for double standards.

Ah! I see Obama finally recognizes the reality of the war on terror and that this truly is "an assault on our shores." That's more like it! This is a dangerous time and dissenters and critics need to zip it. You're either with Obama or you want to see America fail. Well, I know which side I'm on.

More on BP's treatment of workers.


BP's public relations machine says it will protect the cleanup crews. However, workers were not only denied protective equipment but, after arriving for work wearing respirators, were threatened with the loss of their jobs if they chose to wear these "unnecessary" safety devices which serve only to "spread hysteria." Workers complaining of illnesses such as headaches and breathing difficulty were told by BP that they have "food poisoning" or "heat stroke." BP warned workers that if they wanted to be treated, they should see the BP doctors rather than county health officials.

So far the media is bashing BP, not Obama. Yet if you like the environment and like Obama your loyalties no longer synch inasmuch as:

(1) Obama`s MMS/Interior Dept. waved safety inspections (pre-spill)

(2) Obama accepted the most in election donations from BP

(3) Obama gave BP safety awards

(4) Since the spill site is in Federal waters the CWA kicks in if WH activates it (which hasn't happened)

(5) For 55 days Obama has refused to repeal the Jones Act (choosing to allow USA union only help, no foreign help)

(6) From day #3 the WH has refused help from expert companies in other countries including the Dutch (Shell Oil)

(7) Still refuses to buy oil booms from a Maine company (non-union) that has them stockpiled and has been begging to have them used for 55 days

Best Video on the BP Spill to date.


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