So far, The Oklahoman commentary on the BP oil leak disaster in the Gulf coast has been a pro-big oil quagmire of false comparisons, contradictions, inconsistencies and faulty logic.
Even as it calls for more offshore drilling despite the ongoing environmental disaster, the newspaper’s editorial page has criticized President Barack Obama’s response and demeaned U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman for his tough questioning of BP CEO Tony Hayward.
The newspaper’s overall argument about the spill is probably as close as you can get to endorsing U.S. Rep. Joe Barton’s direct apology to Hayward. Last week, Obama secured a $20 billion escrow account from BP to pay damages resulting from the leak, a move Barton, a Texas Republicans and a shill for big oil companies, called a “shakedown.”
In its latest bizarre take on the disaster, “BP’s day of reckoning sends important messages,” (June 18, 2010), the newspaper claims that Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, who questioned Hayward last week, has a “love of big government and loathing for big business.”
“Still,” the newspaper argues, “we’ll resist the urge to sympathize with British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward, who was in Waxman’s dock on Thursday.”
The absurdity of apologizing to or having to “resist the urge to sympathize”-where in the world is this “urge” coming from?-with Hayward for what some are claiming BP’s shortcut methods at the well that exploded April 20 and killed 11 people is a stark reminder of the GOP position on the environment. The position: Drill, baby, drill and who cares what happens?
The newspaper’s most recent editorial on the disaster then presents this logical gem:
A couple of cautionary notes: First, if the blowout/spill indeed was precipitated by negligence, it argues against those who want to halt deep-water exploration forever. If negligence contributed, it means what happened was preventable and not some random occurrence that could happen anywhere there’s deep-water drilling – rendering all such drilling too risky to undertake.
So, let’s get this straight, if the problem is simply corporate malfeasance, then we still must bravely “resist the urge to sympathize” with Hayward and continue deep-water oil drilling because we can trust all the other oil companies to make right decisions. Does anyone, even hard-core Republicans from energy states, really believe that?
Oil companies are only going to safeguard the environment if the government makes them do it.
The Oklahoman consistently supports deregulation. Do the editorial writers think we need more or less regulation when it comes to deep-sea drilling? Logically, the disaster shows we need more safeguards and more regulation to prevent another environmental disaster. The newspaper chooses to criticize Waxman instead.
Earlier, the newspaper argued in commentaries that Obama wasn’t getting angry enough about the disaster, that it was Obama’s “Katrina,” and that this country needs more, not less, offshore drilling.
The anger issue was politically manufactured to simply criticize Obama, Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster that took the lives of more than 1,800 people and cannot be compared to the oil leak, the idea that we need more offshore drilling right now given the epic environmental disaster is an incredibly naïve and robotic response to support the interests of big oil companies.
Barton later apologized for his apology after some leading Republicans distanced themselves from his remarks. The Oklahoman should have to apologize, too, for its reckless disregard of the environment and the people on the Gulf coast whose lives have been changed forever.
Here’s the problem for the GOP brand right now on a national level: The oil gushing into Gulf symbolizes what happens when people embrace a pro-corporate and deregulation ideology at any cost. It’s a dead and destructive ideology, and Democrats need to press the point.
Meanwhile, Hayward went to a big yacht race over the weekend as clean-up efforts continued along the Gulf coast.