Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oil SPILL, My Ass! Halliburton Name Vanishes & Media Blackout Keeps Coverage Mum

Graphics compliments of artist Jared Wrightus (for Greenpeace bp logo contest)

By now, we've all seen the devastation wreaked upon our shores by the bp/TransOcean/Halliburton oilspill. Yes, let's not forget the Halliburton portion of the equation. I'm certain that Halliburton already has the evil P.R. firm of Burson-Marsteller erasing their name from the whole mess, as their part in this seems to have vanished from the headlines...(Did you know that Burson-Martstellar has an entire department focused solely on Global Crisis, complete with 24-hour emergency numbers for your every p.r. need?)

Soon the American viewing public will reach their saturation point regarding this disaster, as they did for Haiti and Katrina and the three wars we're fighting. Maybe it's not the fault of the American people as much as it is the fault of corporate mainstream media (MSM), who decide what their viewership sees each day, feeding them appropriately to retain and gain viewership. But soon, in fact it's already happening, the oilspill will retreat to the background of the news as something that is just another story dragging on, and will need to make room for the latest Lady Gaga publicity stunt or Lindsay Lohan rehab story, or something just as compelling...

There appears to be a certain shelf life for stories in the MSM that has an uber-short expiration date: already Halliburton's name is no longer linked to the story as it was in the beginning. Already the length of time given to the spill (what a misnomer! As if it were a glass of spilled milk!) on nightly news is waning. And a big part of the reason is the media blackout that bp and the feds have placed on this story to keep the American people and the world from seeing the true destruction and permanent damage being done.

But there are some great folks in the field giving us a revealing first-hand look. Mac MacClelland, of Mother Jones magazine, wrote a piece on the media blackout that is extremely telling, and a must-read.  The collusion and coercion of local police by bp is only a small example of the efforts and money being put into a media blackout instead of cleanup. The Newsweek article spells out all the various means by which this is being done.The most commonly asked question in Louisiana these days? """Is there press with you?"   Coast Guard and bp security are denying access, and the cleanup workers are being threatened with lawsuits over violation of the confidentiality agreements they were forced to sign to get cleanup work. Our Gal Rachel had a special Friday night  (6/11/10) that combined her two trips to the affected areas thus far, award-winning coverage that brings us up-close and personal with the significance of what's happening thus far and lack of efforts on bp/Halliburton/TransOcean's part. This piece should be required viewing. Here's a sample:

I encourage you to view all the clips from Friday's The Rachel Maddow Show. It's powerful stuff.

Have you been to bp's site? Here's a jaw-dropping excerpt from one of their recent press releases, after stock prices began to plummet:
BP notes the fall in its share price in US trading last night. The company is not aware of any reason which justifies this share price movement.

BP continues to keep the market updated on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill through regular announcements. The response to this incident is our top priority.
Yeah, if you include threatening to arrest members of the press, strong-arming  locals to keep their mouths shut about the illnesses the cleanup work is causing and unprecedented dollars spent on P.R., there's really no reason for the shareholders to worry. Why, bp has developed a great first-response strategy, since keeping the oil off the marshes and stopping the flow of oil into the ocean are obviously not top priorities. We know that Halliburton, TransOcean and bp all had plenty of knowledge that this sort of spill could occur. And they knew that if it did, it would give the company a black eye for awhile. Sure, stock prices would drop, and then, after a bit, the public would forget about it and hit their saturation point with the coverage, and it'd all go away. And all they'd have to do was control the bad press, keep pictures of stricken animals and wildlife preserves out of the media, and eventually, just like with Exxon Valdez, the public would forget about it - back to business as usual. No new restrictions, more offshore leases, just a blip on the radar. The cost of doing business. And with the most massive profits ever known to man, in the history of recorded profits, all three companies have adopted the Alfred E. Newman motto: "What, me worry?"

The question is, "How do we keep them from getting away with this egregious, premeditated crime?" There was criticism recently of the statement made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to "...keep our boot on the neck" of the oil companies until this mess is cleaned up. Too harsh? Really??? Is there someone out there that honestly thinks it is too harsh a phrase? Get real, because that's what it will take to assure this train wreck will be made right. The question now becomes, "Does the administration have the stomach to hold big oil accountable for the destruction they've caused, both environmental and economic, and ban offshore drilling?" This seems the reasonable course of action. But politics, if anything, has never been reasonable.

I implore you to contact your Senators, Representatives and The White House. Make it clear that the time is right to do what's right: focusing on alternative fuels. Not simply doubling the .00001 % spent on wind and solar to a whopping .00002%, not giving it all lip service as we march toward nuclear power with its own inherent dangers. It is time to do what's been overdue in this country since the Nixon era: end our dependency on oil, and produce jobs in industries that can produce clean energy. If we take it seriously, and put our energy policy where our mouth is, we can sustain the kind of change that will propel our country into job growth and economic prosperity, leaving a cleaner world for our children and their children.

Here's how to find out who you can contact:
House of Representatives
White House
Department of The Interior

Tip: If you'd like a direct response, include your street address in your email.

And now for something completely different:

What's a progressive? My blogsistah Sue hit the nail on the head, and wrote a great post about the differences. And why is it important right now? Because conservatives are protecting the ultra-rich and corporate interests that feather their nests with oil dumps such as this, and it makes great sense for them to use the smokescreen of patriotism to cover the dirty, oily tracks left by the GOP. Remember, this might never had happened without Republican administrations that opened up deeper and deeper offshore oil drilling with no thought of safety or prevention of gushers like we're seeing the effects of today.

Fellow Politicos, feel free to spew regarding this national tragedy, this abuse of corporate power and money, right here on Momma Politico. I look forward to hearing your take on this God-forsaken mess.