In the continuing nightmare saga that is the BP oil gushing disaster in the Gulf, we hear daily such drivel as, "Things are going as planned"I'm quite encouraged." This from BP Senior V.P. Kurt Wells regarding the company's latest efforts (a containment cap) that is siphoning "some" of the oil into the drill ship a mile above the sunken rig.
Meanwhile, as "dark clouds of escaping gas and oil continue to swirl around the cap" (as evidenced in live video streaming) BP's chief operating officer Doug Settles opines (in seeming contradiction) "the device should capture the vast majority of crude flowing from the damaged well."
This is what you get when public relations propaganda replaces competence and actual deeds being accomplished.
To be sure the demands of our 24/7 news cycle contributes to the pressure on BP to offer "something" in the way of progress toward ending this blowout crisis, but their comments of this "procedure" or that "measure" working and then soon after failing utterly is a PR disaster.
To this writer, the American people want to hear the following from BP:
- We're responsible for this catastrophe.
- We'll stop the leak by whatever means necessary to accomplish it.
- We'll pay for all the environmental damage and clean up associated with this disaster.
- We'll reimburse all the fishermen, oystermen and shrimpers, fairly and equitably whose livelihoods have been devastated and wrecked by this disaster.
- We'll pay for and restore all the coastal wetlands damaged by this disaster.
That's it, no wrangling of who is to blame. No vacuous offers of hope for this "procedure" or that "measure" working and then failing. This is not some football game requiring continuous play by play commentary and analysis.
Such honesty, directness and simplicity may be too much to ask from these corporate titans in an age where P.R. (personality and marketing) are valued over substance (competence and integrity).
But it sure would be refreshing.