Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Oil Spill: Another reason to ignore the media

When Hurricane Katrina struck the US Gulf Coast in 2005 it left 1,836 people dead and did 81.2 billion dollars in damage.  We saw the images of a flooded New Orleans with people stranded on roofs, read the stories about the chaos of evacuation, and were told horror story after horror story.  And then we were given one message from the media:  It's all Bush's fault.  There were no shortage of reasons why either.  Some were just angry at the lack of response, and others attributed it to race or the lack of conservative support for global warming.

The left, in typical leftist fashion, decided to politicize something that had no business being politicized to begin with, and then proceeded to scream about it to anyone who would listen.  It was a dishonest, manipulative, and remarkably successful strategy that Democrats used throughout the Bush administration.  Continually raving like a lunatic may not work in the short term, but if enough people do it long enough eventually a negative atmosphere spreads until you begin to associate someone with negative things.  In Bush's case this was failure, incompetence, stupidity, and a lack of compassion.

Once you recognize that it's easy to understand the media's portrayal of Obama during the oil spill.  In an article titled "A month after oil spill began, Obama begins taking charge" we're shown an Obama that is at worst trying and, at best a hero trying to fix the problem and punish those responsible:

Facing a growing furor over the monthlong Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the White House Friday named two environmentalists to lead a presidential commission investigating the disaster.

The appointments of former Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham and William K. Reilly , who led the Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush , came as the Obama administration tried to defend its handling of the spill against critics who charge that the oil giant BP has been dragging its feet in measuring how much oil the company's ruptured well is spewing.

A month after the spill began, the Obama administration also appeared to be distancing itself from BP, forming a task force this week to measure the spilled crude that includes an engineering professor who's told Congress that he thinks the spill is far larger than originally thought, but not a representative from BP

The article focuses heavily on what Obama is doing, while at the same time placing blame squarely on the shoulders of BP.  To be fair that's exactly where the blame needs to go.  BP messed up, and their response to the disaster has been poor to say the least, but there are legitimate points to criticize Obama on.  We can't forget that this spill happened in the federal jurisdiction, and Obama's behavior has been similar to that for which Bush was criticized for, such as not spending enough time in the areas affected.  Don't expect the AP, CNN, or MSNBC to talk about that anytime soon though.

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