Home About Topplebush.com Contact Us Links
Topple Bush Store Articles about George Bush Bush Resume Bush Humor Contribute
Sound Off

Bush coin button
Please also visit our own Store to find lots of interesting, unusual, and funny politically-themed products

Topplebush Books
Find all the progressive books featured on our site plus DVDs, and CDs.

Support our web site using PayPal!
Recommended Books and DVDs

Free Ride book
Free Ride: John McCain and the Media by David Brock and Paul Waldman documents how the media have abandoned their post as honest arbiters in coverage of their friend, John McCain. They show how the media has enabled McCain's rise from the Keating Five scandal to the underdog hero of the 2000 primaries to his roller-coaster run for the 2008 nomination.

Fair and balanced my ass book
Fair and Balanced, My Ass! is a wide-ranging, irreverent, and humorous look at America's number-one cable news network. It examines Fox's phony patriotism and piety, its dishonest crusades, its well-defined agenda, and ratings-driven techniques. The authors deliver a hearty slap down to the jewels in the Murdoch crown, including Bill O'Reilly, Hannity and Colmes, Fox and Friends, and more.

Watchdogs of Democracy book
In Watchdogs of Democracy, Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas offers a cogent, bracing assessment of the deteriorating state of journalistic ethics. She claims that the Bush-2 White House has pioneered "methods that steer message management into outright government propaganda." And never before have Washington reporters behaved like lapdogs rather than watchdogs, unwilling to ask obvious questions and demand honest answers.

View Cart/Checkout

Product banner
Checkout our Bush Store for unique, clever, and funny products you and your friends will enjoy.
The Petroleum Broadcast System Owes Us an Apology
by Greg Palast for Truthout/Buzzflash
October 27, 2010

Tonight, my dog Pluto and I watched the PBS 'Frontline' investigation of BP, "The Spill." PBS has uncovered a real shocker:  BP neglected safety!

Well, no shit, Sherlock!

Pluto rolled over on the rug and looked at me as if to say, Don't we already know this? Then PBS told us - get ready - that BP has neglected warnings about oil safety for years! That's true.  But so has PBS.  The Petroleum Broadcast System has turned a blind eye to BP perfidy for decades.

If the broadcast had come six months before the Gulf blow-out, after the 2005 BP Refinery explosion in Texas, after the 2006 Alaska pipeline disaster, after the years of government fines that flashed DANGER-DANGER, I would say, "Damn, that Frontline sure is courageous."  But six months after the blow-out, PBS has shown us it only has the courage to shoot the wounded.

But hey, at least PBS is now on the case.

Or is it?  Despite press release hoo-hahs that this Frontline investigation would break news from a deep-digging inquiry, what we got was "Investigation by Google," old stuff from old papers that PBS forgot to report the first time around. Well, that's OK.  It's not like I was expecting Edward R. Murrow.

Well, something's better than nothing, right?

No, not in this case.  What us viewers were handed was a tale that could have been written by the PR department at BP's competitor Chevron PR. The entire hour told us again and again and again, the problem was one company, BP, and its "management culture."  (They used the phrase management 'culture' seven times - I counted.)

So, according to PBS, the problem is:  BP ain't got no culture ...

...Unlike Shell Oil's culture which has turned Nigeria into a toxic cesspool; unlike ExxonMobil's culture which remains in denial about the horror it heaped on Alaska.  And unlike Chevron's culture, which I witnessed in the Amazon.  Chevron's culture left Ecuadoran farmers with pustules all over their bodies and a graveyard of children dead of leukemia. If you want to know the point of the PBS show, just go to the network's Newshour webpage where Chevron's logo has sat atop the news as PBS' top corporate sponsor.

The PBS "investigative" report lovingly features the statements of Shell, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Chevron that, "BP did not act to industry standards." Really? Did Frontline investigate these claims, or just run their sponsors' assertions?

Perhaps the oil executives are right:  The oil industry's "standards" typically involve mass poisoning, outrageous bribery and the use of mercenary death squads to silence media and activists.

There's a lot on the line for Big Oil.  And that's why the petroleum giants have a big motive to control the message.

And their message is this:  BP bad! Chevron good! ExxonMobil good! Shell good!

And that's the message that Frontline repeated for them again and again and again.

The Frontline story was an exercise in damage control. If it's just bad-boy BP's "management culture," then the rest of the industry is off the hook.  Then the crazy-ass deepwater drilling can continue and the Big Oil destruction machine can stay in high gear. PBS sponsor Chevron is desperate to resume drilling in the Gulf. Shell is drooling over its delayed offshore project in Alaska's Arctic seas.  If they can isolate BP, the horror show can go on.

BP will soon find deliverance by adopting a new "culture," and presumably restore the PBS sponsorships they had so foolishly dropped.

I have just returned from the Gulf filming for ... well, not PBS. In a four-seater skimming low over a filthy rig still spewing oil into the water.  It was not the Deepwater Horizon well.  Yes, oil pollution and drilling have destroyed the Gulf Coast.  State records show that Shell Oil has destroyed 2,707,767 cubic yards of Delta wetlands versus BP's 234,201.

So, BP is not the worst, but that's not saying much.  Indeed, while PBS was touting its former sponsor BP's clean-and-green PR bullshit, I and many others were writing one furious story after another on BP's lethal penny-pinching.  [See for example, "BP Failed to Act on Warnings of Alaska Tragedy" 1999, and "British Petroleum's Smart Pig" 2006, both from the Guardian.]

The danger to our waters, the danger to oil workers' lives, is not BP's management culture, but the industry's profits-over-people greed gone wild.

Why am I picking on poor little PBS?  I'll be the first to tell you they are the best you're going to get on the US boob tube.  And PBS has spared us embarrassing scenes of Anderson Cooper pretending to save an oily pelican while floating in a canoe with Bobby Jindal.

Tonight, in a deep, serious voice, the PBS narrator intoned, If BP had paid attention to the warnings of experts and regulators, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy could have been prevented.

Damn right. And if PBS had paid attention to the oil story, maybe that too could have prevented the tragedy.

In 1998, a prestigious producer working with BBC Television approached PBS and Frontline with a bombshell of a project:  The story of British Petroleum and its partners and revelations, then confidential, of reckless disregard, if not downright fraud, in preventing and containing massive oil spills.

PBS smacked it away.

Instead, Frontline's producer, WGBH, spent several million dollars on The Commanding Heights.  The six-hour extravaganza was a panegyric to the entrepreneurial spirit of newly privatized oil and power companies.  Production was paid for by Enron. But when Enron's Chairman Ken Lay was arrested, PBS had to find a new sugar daddy.   The new loot poured in from Margaret Thatcher's privatized commander of the heights, British Petroleum. I could give you twenty more examples of see no oil evil, though PBS' recent refusal to run Crude, about Chevron in the Amazon, certainly stands out.

The Public Broadcast System takes our tax money.  It owes us something, no?  If we can't get the real story about Big Oil, at least we deserve an apology.

I was waiting for the Frontline narrator to say:  "BP has kept the truth locked in its files for years - and so have we at PBS.   AND WE ARE ASHAMED. Send us back your coffee mug for a refund."

Greg Palast directed the fraud investigation of BP and Exxon in the grounding of the Exxon Valdez for the Chugach Natives of Alaska.  Palast's investigative reports can be seen on BBC Television Newsnight.  See them at www.GregPalast.com Subscribe to Palast's Newsletter and podcasts. Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter. www.GregPalast.com

Posted: October 29, 2010

Share this web page with like-minded people:

Main Sections:
/ Home / About Us / Contact Us / Links / Topple Bush Store / Bush Articles / Bush Resume / Bush Humor / Contribute /

Topple Bush Submenus:
Topplebush Store: / T-shirts / Bush Coins / Bumper Stickers / Peace Magz / Obama08 / Blow-out clearance sale / T-shirt sale / Bumper Sticker sale / Bush Legacy Gear /
Bush Articles: / Past Business Dealings / Military Record / Family History / Record as Governor of TX / Stealing the Florida Election / George G. W. Bush / Record as President / Dick Cheney /
Bush Humor: / Jokes / Cartoons / Photos 1 / Photos 2 / Photos 3 / Animation / Other / Trump Jokes / Trump Limericks /
Contribute: / Candidates / Topple Bush Site /

Other Sections:
/ Books / DVDs / CDs / MP3 Music for Free Download / Free flyers to Print Out & Distribute / Election Fraud Information /

Fun Topplebush Projects:
/ Remove Condi Rice from the Football Playoff Committee /
Find New Slogan for Fox News / Send Pills to Rush / Find a New Slogan for the GOP / Create Better Language for Dems and Progressives / Blame Reagan / What military recruiters say to fill their quotas / Photo Caption Contest - Win a Free Prize! /

Share this web page with like-minded people:
/ digg / reddit / del.icio.us / stumbleupon / google web history /