BP Takes Page From The Pentagon’s Playbook, Denies Access To The Press

According to Newsweek, BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and locals now employed in the Deepwater Horizon cleanup effort are working hard to keep the press, especially photojournalists, away from the spill.

More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging from reporters, photographers, and TV crews in which BP and Coast Guard officials explicitly target members of the media, restricting and denying them access to oil-covered beaches, staging areas for clean-up efforts, and even flyovers.
“It’s a running joke among the journalists covering the story that the words ‘Coast Guard’ affixed to any vehicle, vessel, or plane should be prefixed with ‘BP,’ ” says Charlie Varley, a Louisiana-based photographer. “It would be funny if it were not so serious.”

This is outrageous and unacceptable behavior on BP’s part. And it’s one more black eye for the PR hacks busy advising the brand during this crisis. Their job, of course, is to maintain shareholder value. The question is how best to do that. Sadly, BP’s defensive posturing is the wrong answer for the brand and for everyone else.
BP execs want to believe they can hide, but there’s no hiding an oil spill of this magnitude. The truth is surfacing along with all the dead turtles, dolphins, fish, shrimp and every other creature unable to escape the toxic mess–which could have been prevented, were it not for corners cut and precious pennies saved.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.