The news is making my head hurt…

and it isn’t just because of oil spills, economic meltdowns and other world crises… This morning on CNN, the anchor, while reading the morning report on BP’s efforts to siphon oil from the subsurface Deepwater Horizon wellhead, related that the siphoning device seemed to be working and then …..  [PAUSE]  “…. At least according to the oil company.” Now was that necessary? Where was the copy editor? Or am I just old-fashioned? I realize CNN is hurting these days. And sadly (from my own biased perspective), Fox is soaring along. Why? Because Fox is unabashed about taking a “perspective” on the news, “Fair and Balanced” or not. Fox News entertains a very large segment of the U.S. news-watching audience who wants to hear the news conveyed the way they want to hear it. and they’re willing to pay for it (at least indirectly). I thought CNN was trying at least to continue to “objective.” Silly me. So, CNN, if you want to survive, you’d better get with the program and do something--anything--really well. Be conservative. Be liberal. Be outrageous. Be boomer. Be young. Be something. But John King can’t wear jeans with expensive black leather brogans. It just confuses us. And your advertisers. It seems like everybody is a BP crisis management critic, but, after 25 years in the business of incident response, I was a bit taken aback today to see BP’s E&P Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttle on CNN surprised by a question on Transocean’s not-so-new accusation on Sunday night’s “60-Minutes” program that BP had been putting pressure on the drilling company to hurry completion of the platform removal and get the Horizon moved to next location. Mr. Suttle’s answer ( if the link is still available) was smooth but evasive, and altogether consistent with media training for responses in the hours immediately following an incident—not days, or even weeks later. He most certainly should have been prepped for that question. One answer might have been, “We do adhere to tight deadlines but never, ever at the expense of safety.” Of course, past BP accidents in other divisions (Texas City, for one) have damaged the company’s credibility on that one. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section.

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