By David Bauder, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — CNN's Anderson Cooper said Tuesday that he still hadn't heard from BP after his attack on the company for failing to make its representatives available to talk about the Gulf oil spill on his nightly newscast.
On Monday night's show, Cooper took the unusual step of playing tape of 14 different nights in which he told viewers that the company had either not responded to requests for interviews or declined. He said the company failed the test of transparency and its officials don't like to be asked tough questions.
"It's easy for me to kind of smile about this and almost kind of make a joke about it," Cooper said on the air. "But it's not a joking matter."
BP has run into some trouble with the media during the nearly two-month oil spill, including reporters who have complained about restricted access to workers cleaning up the oil or areas affected by the spill.
Cooper's harsh words were noteworthy, particularly given a lack of complaints from other networks. They left him walking a thin line between informing his viewers about BP's unwillingness to answer questions on his newscast or appearing petulant that he's not getting guests.
"I don't yell at people," Cooper said Tuesday. "I'm not trying to embarrass anybody. I think they just need to be held accountable for the public statements. I think they'll get a lot tougher questions Thursday on Capitol Hill than they would on my program, but it's their right to pick and choose."
BP representatives did not immediately return messages for comment on Cooper left by phone and e-mail.
BP Managing Director Bob Dudley did appear on Cooper's program on May 19. Cooper said he had not heard whether the company had been unhappy with the interview, although he noted that he had repeated questions that he did not feel Dudley answered at first.
He said the company had fibbed about the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and should be asked to explain contradictory statements.
BP's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, was interviewed last week by CNN anchor John Roberts. Another CNN reporter, Kyra Phillips, was given access to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel in the Gulf.