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Tony Hayward, Former BP CEO, Frets That BP Was Unprepared For 'Media Scrutiny'

Hayward

First Posted: 11/09/10 03:37 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:10 PM ET

Former BP CEO Tony Hayward should really think about heeding the advice of the Village Voice's Jen Doll, and "really just stop talking." But talk he has, and so we've all learned a whole bunch of new things about the guy who's really, really sorry about that whole catastrophic oil gusher thingy. For instance, we now know that if he had to do it all over again, he would have totally gone yachting, and, like all yachtsmen, he only took to the high seas as a means of tamping down all of the anger he was feeling.

But I'm more interested in this contention:

Former BP chief executive Tony Hayward has said that the media response to the oil spill was a "feeding frenzy".


Speaking for the first time since his resignation, Mr Hayward said that the company was "not prepared" to deal with "the intensity of the media scrutiny".

You know, it's true. These days, it's getting to be so that a company can't explode an oil derrick, kill eleven people, and devastate an entire region's ecosystem and economy without a whole bunch of media gadflies horning in and asking a lot of questions about it. But if you ask me, BP sure seemed to be plenty prepared to "deal with" the "intensity of the media scrutiny." Let's review, shall we?

--BP went to great lengths to prevent reporters from documenting the effects of the oil spill on wildlife.

--In contravention of orders issued by National Incident Commander Thad Allen, BP went to great lengths to prevent reporters from talking to beachside clean-up crews.

--BP went to great lengths to prevent reporters from documenting the public health impact of the oil spill.

--BP coordinated with local police to aid in their media clampdown.

--That effort led to reporters and activists being hassled and detained. Journalists were also threatened with fines and jail time, for attempting to do their job.

--BP unleashed their own army of flacks to head to the region and start blogging about what an awesome and responsible company BP was, despite what you may have heard.

--BP got a big assist from the White House, who ignored the pleas of the Associated Press' Michael Oreskes, who wrote a letter to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs "demanding that President Barack Obama's administration improve media access." (It's a good thing that BP was merely a major petrochemical company that had wrecked the Gulf Coast of the United States, and not Indian security officials intruding on some agreed-upon social niceties.)

Far from being unprepared to face the scrutiny of the media, it sure looks to me like BP was very quick to implement a well-coordinated plan to diminish the effects of that scrutiny. And through that plan, BP earned the prize they sought -- muddied waters on the total amount of the oil spill and the company's ultimate liability.

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