Rush Limbaugh says BP Oil Spill a “Non-story”

In Economics, History on December 21, 2011 at 19:19

Dead birds, no big deal from griffyclan007.wordpress.com

On Rush Limbaugh’s show of December 19th, he stated that the BP Oil spill, the AP top story of 2010, “Ended up being a non-story”, and that few people remember it. We could spend years refuting all the misinformation and outright lies Mr. Limbaugh spews on his show, but I thought this a good opportunity to remember one of the worst man-made ecological disasters in U.S. history.

What Rush says about the BP/Deep Water Horizon story shows his contempt for reality. The importance of a story politically and historically often has little to do with how its remembered. Second, one of the reasons it is not remembered is that news outlets such as Fox, Clear Channel, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC and the even the supposedly “liberal” counterpoint to Fox News, MSNBC, have done little reporting on this story since the BP/Deep Water Horizon Oil spill of 2010 stopped gushing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The BP media blackout during the disaster also reduced its coverage.

Limbaugh infers that if we don’t remember a story, it’s not important. How many people under the age of thirty can tell you about Watergate or the Cuban Missile Crisis? If we don’t remember, than it’s not important, right? I am sure few Americans can tell you about the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks, but does that mean it’s not important?  The Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians in a country the size of Maryland in 1915-16, but because we don’t remember it, it’s a “non-story” according to Rush. And what about the cracking of secret German codes in WWII that hastened the end of the war?   I guess that was a non-story too. Using Rush’s criteria, if he doesn’t report on it, it doesn’t matter.

Furthermore, it is the mass media that influences to a large extent what stories we remember and discuss. You might recall that only three short months ago, Occupy Wall Street began. For the first few weeks, there was nothing in the front sections of the New York Times about the occupation. Thus, the movement didn’t exist. Now, phrases like “occupy” and “99%” are part of our national discourse. You can bet if the movement disappeared tomorrow, our collective amnesia would set in and people like Rush will say, “The Occupy Movement was a non-story.”

BP and their executives tried to enforce a media blackout on the Deep Water Horizon spill. “In fact BP has hired security guards and someone has even instructed the military to prevent media access to the workers and oil spill cleanup operations.” They wanted to block the beaches and protect them from dangerous cameras that would film the tragedy and interfere with their media spin campaign about BP being good corporate citizens. They also prevented clean up workers from talking to the media. They denied this interference despite damning evidence from a local news outlet. The airspace above the oil spill was also shut off to traffic and media outlets.

First, BP said they were keeping the public away from the beach for safety reasons. However, they weren’t willing pay for the acoustic switch, a remote shut off valve that would have cost only $500,000. It would cost $560 million to replace the Deep Water Horizon oil rig. So much for public safety. Later, after keeping people off the beaches because they were oh so concerned about safety, they said they were closing off the area due to vandalism.

So, if this was a non-story, it’s because of censorship and the news cycle that won’t report things such as shut off valves, corporate culpability, and the need for regulation. Corporations own the mass media and a larger and larger portion of the Internet, and they don’t want to air their dirty laundry. Thus, they have mouthpieces like Mr. Limbaugh diminish ecological disasters and the economic catastrophe caused by the BP oil spill. This discourse fits right into the mind set of Limbaugh’s audience that small government is good government and liberals and environmentalists want to attack hard working oil companies like BP.

So let’s remember the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster of 2010. On April 20, 2010, the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig exploded and spewed an estimated 200 millions gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of marine animals died and the economy of the gulf coast was in ruins. The well wasn’t capped and controlled until September, 2010. BP estimates the likely cost of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill to be $40bn. That’s a 80,000 times more costly than the $500,000 acoustic switch that BP failed to install. But when you put profit above the environment or the livelihood of people, and you can write off such losses on your taxes, what’s the big deal. As Rush would say, it’s a “non-story.”

What Rush and the corporate elite don’t want us to know is that it was operational short cuts taken by BP and Halliburton that lead to the oil disaster. Rush and the CEO of BP will never admit that not only were the regulations that could have prevented the disaster not followed, more regulation for deep water drilling rigs like the Deep Water Horizon is the only way to reduce the potential for future Gulf oil spill disasters.

And what is also lost in the conversation is that more offshore oil drilling in the United States won’t affect the cost of gas to the consumer. More drilling could damage our oceans for hundreds and thousand of years if we have more BP sized spills in the future. However, the mainstream media and Congress don’t want to upset their corporate benefactors, so policies that could prevent future oil disasters and lead to larger investment in sustainable energy are not part of the discussion.

By calling it a non-story, Rush encourages millions of his listeners to ignore the dangers of our energy policy because as Mr. Limbaugh wants you to believe, it doesn’t matter.

Tex Shelters

  1. No, millions — not thousands — of members of our sibling species died amid horrendous unthinkable suffering. What would truly be a nonstory, no biggie at all, would be the death of Mr Limbaugh. What a useless lump of protoplasm. What the fuck is with this unkind horrible man? Did he used to be funny?

  2. Well to be perfectly honest with you Tex since I don’t listen to Rush but do read you I remembered the BP spill though here. That said with the state of the economy, cost of fuel, cost of food, cost of shelter and an unclear path in Libya the BP spill is pretty low on my list of things to worry about. Anyhow I do hope you and yours have a happy holiday and let’s hope for all of our sake this economy turns around in the New Year.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: