Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Media: Purveyors of Doom and Gloom?

Why do the various media have to exaggerate and always paint everything as a ‘disaster’?

A good example of not understanding the situation was on one of the major cable news networks the other day. In an interview with a mayor in the panhandle, referring to the oil spill in the Gulf, the announcer said, “. . . then you’ll probably have to close all the beaches?” The mayor came back with, “No . . . why would we do that? The beaches are just fine - it’s the water that may be a problem”.

Another example: The news item mentioned that the huge skimmer, "A Whale", was running tests, but the tests proved inconclusive because of rough seas. The announcer then said, “well I guess that’s another major setback!”
Let the ship run it’s tests before making any off-handed comments like that. Who knows . . . it may just work!

Yet another reporter keeps mentioning that 60,000 barrels of oil are leaking into the Gulf every day! Where does that figure come from? The last estimate that I heard was anywhere from 20,000 up to 60,000 barrels a day, but that was before the “Top Hat” was put in place. The Top Hat is supposedly collecting up to 25,000 barrels a day. It’s still a bad number, but don’t exaggerate it.

Yet another example: Several weeks ago, the news networks were mentioning that tar balls were being found in the Florida keys! Of course, these had nothing at all to do with the BP oil spill, and have been washing ashore for thousands of years. Finding these naturally occurring tar balls on the beaches of Florida is what prompted oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico in the first place! No one at the networks bothered to check this fact; just alarm the general public again!

I’m not saying that the whole BP oil spill is not a major problem. It’s bad enough as it is, without trying to scare everyone into believing it’s worse. Also, BP has done a horrible job in working with the locals and media. Hopefully, that will improve.

So, all you talking heads, let’s just use a little common sense, read the news copy beforehand, edit it if need be, and use what little intelligence you might have before reporting!