Thick Greasy Wool Pulled Over Our Eyes

BP should be more honest


Theo and the Decline of Western Civilization


Thick, Greasy Wool Pulled Over Our Eyes


            By James Theo


BP; big problems.  We are well into the second month of the countries greatest environmental catastrophe, and still no end is in sight.  The effort to stop oil from gushing into the gulf has so far failed, but that hasn't stopped BP from making sure everyone knows that they are trying oh so very hard to stop it.

            Anyone get the feeling you are being played?

            BP seems to know that the only way to truly stop the flow of oil is to complete the relief well. So why all the highly publicized gizmos, gadgets, and hat tricks that keep trying and failing to stop the leak?  Tony Hayward and his cronies are trying to pacify the outraged public.  BP is trying to manipulate us.

            Since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil has erupted from the sea floor into the fragile Gulf of Mexico.  This dwarfs the now infamous Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska, easily becoming the largest spill in American history.

            As is customary with the American public and the media, someone's head needed to be on the chopping block.  BP, the main leaser of Deepwater Horizon, quickly came under heavy scrutiny, and rightfully so.  They rapidly began a campaign of damage control, however, they seemed to put just as much effort into controlling the damage to their brand image as they did to the Gulf.

             It comes down to this; the relief well system is the only way to stop and redirect the oil plume.  This well will not be done until August at the earliest.  It would appear that BP knew this from very early on, but being a large corporation obsessed with profit, image, and growth, they went into survival mode.

            Throughout the months of May and June, attempt after attempt was made to stop the flow from the gusher.  The public watched in disbelief as again and again, they failed.  The interesting part is that they all seemed to have quirky names and took up more news time than the impact the oil was having.

            There was the “top hat,” the “top kill,” even a “trash shoot.”  But time and time again the only trash shoot seemed to be the one coming out of BP's PR people.  I can't help but think that such expensive and high tech equipment and strategies would have names a little bit less...fourth grade.

            However it becomes clear that this lingo is easily digestible for a reason.  BP buys up news time and Internet space to advertise these terms to show the public what a caring, and hard working company they are.  BP is filled with compassion and sympathy for the people and wildlife affected by the spill.  As CEO Tony Hayward said, “There's no one who wants this over more than I do.”

            Well Mr. Hayward, tell that to the fourth generation shrimper whose livelihood has been smothered like so many sea birds and turtles.

             So why use these seemingly childish terms for such a serious problem?  Easy; try and reassure the public with easily digestible language.  More or less, they are saying, “hey look, look, see?  We care, we have robots and top hats, no need to worry.  This mess will all be over soon and you can be back to purchasing our fine BP gasoline.”

            BP wants you to hear this.  This is evident in the millions they have spent to get their name out there associated with clean up.  Type in oil spill on Google, and watch as the first link is not the Red Cross, the EPA, or a volunteer site, but BP!

            Some would argue that at least they are doing something.  Clearly they have to try, and they should be recognized for their effort.  However, we are being intentionally misled.  If they know that the oil will not be stopped until the relief wells are done, the public deserves to know as well.  We are not as ignorant as BP would like to think.  Give it to us straight.

            This is a truly historic disaster we are dealing with.  For two and a half months now, it has consistently been at the top of the news as new details come to light and the effects become more evident.  BP is in many ways responsible for what happened, and will be held responsible in the end.  However, they need to stop treating the concerned public as a bunch of fools, for we are not.  Silly names and media saturation is not going save the marshlands, dolphins, or your public image.  Give it to us straight and retain what little dignity you have left. 

            The public has seen just how bad this has gotten, so the best business plan BP could possibly pursue is a little bit of honesty.

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