Tough to say who needs remedial PR training more, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, who this week referred to those affected by the Gulf catastrophe as "the small people" or Texas Rep. Joe Barton who used a high-profile hearing on the Hill to apologize to BP and accuse the White House of subjecting the company to "a shakedown." Svanberg quickly went into contrition mode, blaming his tone-deaf remark on a "slip in translation" (he's Swedish). Under pressure, Barton, who owns a natural gas well and has received nearly $1.5 million from oil and gas industry donors, apologized for his apology, saying: "If anything I've said this morning has been misconstrued... I want to apologize for that misconstruction." He should apologize for that sentence. Then, as penance, both men should translate their regret into reparations, contributing a big amount to "the small people" devastated by the disaster.
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