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June 1, 2010

BP Busing and Scam Photo Ops

REUTERS/Sean Gardner - Grand Isle, Louisiana Monday, May 31, 2010. (Memorial Day)

REUTERS/Lee Celano - Grand Isle, Louisiana. Sunday, May 30, 2010.

I’d say the post by MataHarley yesterday at Flopping Aces, a right-wing blog, was pretty courageous.  Titled BP Busing & Scam Photo Ops… the scandal that wasn’t, the author rips both the left and right for accusing Obama of staging last Friday’s photo op on the beach in Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish.

What both sides have jumped on are charges by a councilman, amplified in the local media, that the Administration bused in 400 unskilled workers who were essentially paid off for the day to create a false backdrop.  Attacking both sides for lazy research and hit-and-run journalism, MataHarley accuses the left of using the charge “to further bash the image of BP, and by proxy, big oil, for their green agenda,” and the “right [for using] it to slyly suggest it was Obama, himself, orchestrating the scam.”

You can and should read the whole post, but what naturally caught my attention was the visual angle. Besides MataHarley’s clarification that the workers were already mandated and trained to perform the work, it’s pointed out that colored shirts worn by some of the workers denoted and verified a work heirarchy established by the program in place and, further, that the HAZMAT suits reflected that many workers, far from being plucked off the street, had participated in specific hazardous training and certification courses.

But then, plain and simple are the newswire photos above taken in the same location of Obama’s visit two and three days later, respectively.  Obviously, someone forgot to tell the posers that — with the President having taken off and the payoff money in their pockets — they were free to go home.

  • sherry

    I read the linked post. I do not believe Mata said the shirt color denoted anything, just suggested that it might.

  • yg

    i don’t know how long workers have been there. and i can appreciate the hard work and hours the clean up crews have put in, but pulling back to look at the larger picture, this effort does amount to corporate PR damage control.

    what does picking up tar balls on the beach going to do to protect the rookieries out on the marshes? is one more turtle going to live because a tar ball was picked up? how do you clean up the black clouds floating on the water and lapping on the beach because surfactants have emulsified the oil with the water preventing it from solidifying into a tar ball. where are the skimmers? where are the tankers siphoning up the oil plumes thousands of feet long? the more oil you suck up out of the water, the less will hit the coasts. where are the berms that local officials have been calling for?

  • yg

    mataharley didn’t address another element to this story, asserted by cnn and ap reporters:

    Workers refused to say who hired them, telling a reporter they were told to keep quiet or lose their jobs.

    why would employers muzzle the workers and threaten them with loss of employment? perhaps workers blocked from being allowed to be interviewed help fuel suspicions.

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