Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sugarcoating Oil

Hello, blog fans.

I really liked today's page. My column turned out better than I expected, and might be one of my favorites so far. I love it when I come up with a sentence or phrase that surprises me. I'm especially proud of this one:

"If all we do with news is sugarcoat it and look at it with rose-colored glasses, we will end up diabetic and color blind."

That's ready for the next edition of Bartlett's, my friends.

Sugarcoating oil - BP confuses news with P.R.

Today's column was a chance for another diatribe of mine about the high ideals of journalism. (And it was a perfect way to follow up what happened earlier this week.) There's another slight hint of "stickittothemaneosis" on my page today, similar to the way I utilized my column on the David Pearl Freedom of the Press Act.

More specifically, I talk about BP's "reporters" who are searching for the sunny side of this whole oil spill disaster. (Correction: the sunny side of BP's whole oil spill disaster.) It's perfectly fine to look for pro-BP stories in the gulf states, and it's fine to do P.R., but the squeaky voice piping up in favor of BP is overwhelmingly drowned out by what actual news services are reporting. I'm sure the stories from the BP "reporters" are true and legitimate. But they don't accurately represent the whole community.

Here are a few of BP's dispatches from the gulf (the ones I quoted in my article):

"Over about four hours we … enjoyed the spectacular ballet at sea. … Watching the captains weave the long black boom as seamlessly as a professional ballet troupe performs an intricate dance, I found it difficult to believe that the rehearsals only started some weeks ago.”

“Much of the region’s … businesses — particularly the hotels — have been prospering because so many people have come here from BP and other oil emergency response teams.”

“There is no reason to hate BP,” “business has fallen off sharply, suddenly,” “This is an oilfield community," "People understand.”

“Chaisson hasn’t yet made up her mind about what to say in the first editorial on the subject.”

Here's where you will find all of their blog posts:

Blogs from the Gulf

Now, some of the "reporters" bring up some points that are important. Even though oil is ruining the ways of life for many gulf coast residents, a lot of them are still against President Barack Obama's six-month moratorium on oil drilling because it causes six months of no work for many people. And a lot of tourism-type businesses are hoping visitors won't be scared to come down to the gulf. There is still plenty to do for tourists and they can still enjoy their vacation.

That being said, I hope you enjoy the many examples of mushiness in these BP gulf "reports."

And if you're interested in reading all of Vicki Chaisson's editorial (the editor from The Lafourche Gazette who one of the BP "reporters" talked to), here's that:

Where will it all end?

Here's a hilarious sketch on the BP "reporters" from Stephen Colbert:

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Other features in today's Issues & Ideas page:

There is a house editorial written by the Daily Universe's editor-in-chief and COMMS 321 instructor, Ed Carter. When he said he had a house editorial about the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against Arizona for its new immigration law, I expected that if he got into the controversy and the different sides of the issue, the editorial would be in favor of the opposite side I would support. But, instead of saying anything about racial profiling, Professor Carter stuck to the legality and constitutionality of the issue. And I happen to agree with the viewpoint he took.

Immigration and the Supremacy Clause

And, I totally drew a cartoon for the page and then forgot to include it on the page! I didn't have any room for it anyway, so it's not too tragic. And thanks to blogging technology, I can still share it to you.

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