Wednesday, November 10, 2010

781 White Wash Black Wash

781 White Wash Black Wash

Okay, conspiracy theorists, it's time to get out and rub your copy of the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President Kennedy. We all know by now that despite the commission's, findings, Kennedy was killed by the Mafia and Castro and the John Birch Society and the Martians, Lyndon Johnson, the Russians and a host of others -- and not by Lee Harvey Oswald working alone.

Hold that report as you read the findings of the Presidential Commission on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP never traded safety for profit. BP is committed to the "highest level of safety." BP wasn't blameless, but it was a "normal accident," that zillions of gallons of ooze in the water, the ooze that killed the fishing industry -- at least temporarily. The ooze that hit New Orleans just about the time it was recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Okay. We're all convinced.

Except Chris.


Chris. He is manager of a gasoline station. It used to sell Amoco. Then, when BP bought Amoco, it sold BP. Now it's "un-branded." Does he know where his fuel comes from? If he does, he won't say. "We're unbranded," he all he'll say. Chris' gas station is on a big road in a small ecologically conscious town, and thousands of potential customers pass it each week. And after the spill, pass it they did instead of stopping in. He won't tell us how much his volume fell, but you'd better believe it was big time.

The BP signs have come off the gas pumps, and business is more or less back to normal now. Thing of it is, most of Chris' customers were "regulars," and although many of them are back, many also blame him for what happened in the gulf. The guy's maybe 30 years old. Not exactly ready to take the blame for the BP situation. But he's also the locally public face of the oil company. You gotta hope the guy's on salary, not commission. He has mouths to feed.

The world is full of guys like Chris. They're being blamed for what BP did to the gulf, and they shouldn't be. BP's policies killed eleven workers on the gulf rig. Chris didn't kill anyone, but who else you gonna blame?

So is this a white wash or a black wash?


--So Olbermann's back from his "indefinite suspension" of about a week. Slap on the wrist for violating policy on political contributions. Fact is, MSNBC needs him, for the moment as the channel's ratings leader.

--Speaking of NBC: Matt Lauer's interview with GW Bush was broadcast journalism at its recent finest. Matt pulled no punches in his questions and the former President answered with unusual candor and sensitivity as he plugged his new book. Matt is a first rate journalist, a first rate television anchor, and even now, after years of relative stardom, one of the only guys in TV who realizes that the star of the show is the show, not the star.

---Hat's off to the Methuselah of college football coaches, Penn State's Joe Paterno, who now has 400 career wins, the first coach of a so-called major team to reach that goal although two others among so-called lesser teams have exceeded it. To paraphrase "JoePA," as he's known, stick around long enough and it's bound to happen. Pretty modest fellow for a Brooklyn boy.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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