Like we said, the great satire of @BPGlobalPR forces one to hesitate before laughing or crying, unsure which is the proper response. Leroy Stick continues to lambast people’s mushy responses to this little setback. I mean, “So YOU want to see pictures of dead animals covered in oil and WE are the bad guys!? Sick bastards. #bpcares” (3 July). Yes, BP continues to fumble its way to a solving of the oil gush, and the stories that are beginning to leak out about how BP continues to fumble the publicity statements are almost as alarming. Unlike the faulty deep water well, we have the technologies and experience to handle press releases, do we not?
Apparently not. BP has been working hard to keep cameras, small aircraft, and safety masks away from beaches where cleanup has begun thanks to numerous volunteers and part-time experts (“BP: Beyond People”). The Washington Post’s Dan Zak ran a story yesterday about how local media have been shut out or – at best – given controlled and limited access: “Last week a Mother Jones reporter was told she couldn’t see Elmer’s Island without being accompanied by a BP representative, because it’s “BP’s oil.” Two weeks ago Coast Guard officials cited “BP’s rules” when demanding that a CBS News crew leave a beach area. (Representatives from CNN, ABC and local CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans said last week that their journalists had not encountered significant obstacles while covering the oil story.)” (“BP: Beyond the Press”)
Information has slowly been working its way to the surface though, despite BP’s efforts to disperse it. Photos of the damage damage to seacoasts and birds have been circulating online, and thus beyond BP’s efforts to skim off the worst of the leakage. Even the hard-hearted Mr. Stick was duly moved to post a warning on his tweet of late Thursday night: “These are exactly the kinds of photographs we don’t want you to see: http://tinyurl.com/2465cbg – WARNING: truly heartbreaking.”
And they are. We post one here and reiterate our call for sustained community action.
The PR fiascoes continue to bloom, though. CBS news is running a story about BP CEO Tony Hayward expressing his desire to get his life back – failing to take note of the eleven lowly platform workers killed in the initial explosion who won’t:
“The oil company is now trying to mop up comments made Sunday by chief executive Tony Hayward, who said that “nobody wants this thing over more than I do. I’d like my life back.”
Trying to save face on Facebook, Hayward posted an apology to the families of the 11 men who were killed in the April 20 rig explosion, CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reported on “The Early Show”.
“Those words don’t represent how I feel about this tragedy,” Hayward wrote.
Sigmund Freud might beg to differ. (“BP: Beyond Psychoanalysis”)
It bears repeating: BP worked with TransOcean and Halliburton on building this rig. They all worked with a wink-and-a-nod with the Minerals Management Service of the government to ensure oversight was minimal. The immediate (and perhaps ‘feel-good’) devil might be Mr. Hayward and BP, but the larger structural problems must be addressed. These other corporations are trying to control their PR as well. They have been fortunate enough thus far that they can do so by keeping their mouths shut, but they too should be questioned and held accountable. Our fear is that the relief we will all feel once the well is tolerably well capped will encourage us to move to the cleanup of the oil, but not to the restructuring of the corporate self-aggrandizing risk-taking that got us here. BP: Beyond Probing.