New Media and Politics - BP's Folly

As a strategy, being arrogant jerks hasn't worked out very well for BP. Tony Hayward has quickly weasled his way into the top ten most hated people on the planet (conjecture) and he's made his company massively unpopular. There's talk of debarment and boycotts but there's something else going on. You can feel it in the news reports and the comments written at the news sites - people are disgusted by BP's behaviour since the spill.

 ABC's Good Morning America sent Sam Champion and Phillipe Cousteau to dive right into the affected area in the Gulf. It's pretty disgusting and alarming and yet as much as I'm sure BP doesn't want you to see that video (posted below), I do believe that the images of an imperious Tony Hayward barking directions on a public beach are far more damaging to their reputation. Have a listen and the reasons become clear. There's more than hubris and arrogance here - this guy has a sense of entitlement beyond all understanding.

For all the discovery by Americans of how terrible BP's safety record has been  in the past -In just the last few years, BP has paid $485 million in fines and settlements to the US government for environmental crimes, willful neglect of worker safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy markets. - and the series of failures that led to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and oil gushing into the Gulf at estimated rates of somewhere between 25,000 and 95,000 barrels per day - it is their behaviour since that threatens their very existence the most. Blowouts and spills have happened before - Exxon screwed everyone in and around Prince William Sound and that didn't create anger on the level we're now witnessing. Their constant lying about the spill rate may be one reason - turns out BP may be charged by the barrel. But I think there's something else - it's the sociopathic manner in which they've conducted themselves since. As if only they mattered, not the delicate eco-systems and marine life upon which so many are dependent for their livelihoods.