Thursday, June 10, 2010
Get what done? Make it right how? You really, really don't want to know.
This BP newspaper ad keeps popping up. Here's a handy translation:
We will get it done. We will attempt to limit our liability by any means possible, including bald-faced lies, secrecy, and co-opting government agencies to keep news media as far from the worst of the oil spill's impact as possible. We will consistently low-ball estimates of the magnitude of the oil spill, mindful of the fact that each barrel cost us $4,000-plus per barrel in fines -- but only only if someone can make real figures stand up in court. We'll use all our resources to make that as hard as possible and probably impossible. We will spend millions promoting pretty pictures and meaningless words in paid advertising and a massive PR campaign. Pictures of oil-stained, dying animals are the enemy of our corporate interests. Combating them is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it, and we will get it done.
We will make this right. Not for the public. Not for displaced workers. Not for the millions of creatures we are killing, not for entire ecosystems that are being ravaged. We will make it right for ourselves, if we possibly can -- whether that means hiding behind bankruptcy protection or merging into invisibility. We will do our best to avoid personal responsibility and stay out of jail. You bet we will make this right.
You just want to scream. Especially after reading Tim Dickinson's new article in Rolling Stone about how this thing unfolded -- and especially about how BP and the government both low-balled public estimates of the rate of the spill by an order of magnitude or more. The result: Now that BP has partially capped the well and is capturing a significant share of the original public estimates of the spill, there's apparently still more oil flowing into the Gulf than there supposedly was in the first place.
Screaming is not enough. We need to wake up and get real.