Saturday, 12 June 2010

The View From Britain: 'It's Not Us, It's You' - The Huffington Post

I'm gonna tell you a little secret. I'm an American living in Britain. All of my friends and family are back home, and I talk to them often. Because of this, I get two reporting sides to every news story, which is great because often I find that the States will censor certain highlights in the news. But this isn't what's going on with the whole BP incident. News in the States seems to have been centered around the event since it happened, with few diversions on to, in my opinion, less important topics. British news hardly mentions it. I find this kind of shocking, since BP is a British company. Now, granted, I don't have a TV or radio to get the "top news" that's typically fed to the masses in that manner, but I do spend a lot of time on the internet, specifically Google News (which has its own problems), and I follow several marine environmental accounts and blogs on Twitter, which in turn follow more marine environmental accounts and blogs, so I think I probably see a fair share of the news regardless. I make a conscious effort to read marine environmental news every day, and although sometimes I may be a bit late to the party, I'm fairly confident I'm getting more than your average news-reader.

Anyway. What I'd like to point out is that the Deepwater Horizon disaster has been extremely downplayed over here. I haven't once heard people talking about it on the streets, in stores, in public places. I haven't seen it in headlines on the newsstands. I don't see it in the passing glimpses of television screens I get while walking by buildings. The tube is still speckled with BP adverts: sponsored concerts, art exhibits...No one has smeared the BP logo or posted stickers objecting. Honestly, people don't seem to care. People don't seem to think it's a big deal, even though the spill is now greater than the south of England.

Here's the kicker. Britain's looking at our anger at BP as "anti-British" hysteria "permeating from America". An overreaction to a "very, very modest" leak, as Tony Hayward said himself.

Check this out:

"Over the last few years US citizens who criticised the Iraq war or America's response to the climate crisis have consistently come under fire for being "anti-American". The British press have now wised up to the tactic, and are tapping into exactly the same pseudo patriotism to accuse vast swathes of Americans, including President Obama, of being "anti-British.""

Well aren't you clever? I hate how nowadays, whenever someone says something that somebody doesn't like, it's intrinsically anti-whatever and threatens the very moral fiber of a collective groups beliefs. You don't like the war (killing thousands of people)? You're anti-American. You don't like the oil spill (killing thousands of marine animals, ruining livelihoods)? You're anti-British. You don't like giraffes (they have spots!)? You must be anti-African. It makes about the same amount of sense to me.

I love cats, but I don't like cat hair on my clothes, so I must be anti-mammals, right?

Wrap it up with this:

"Never mind that BP's contingency plan for the event of an oil spill was riddled with falsehoods and errors. Never mind the fact that that BP has reported more accidents and blowouts than any other oil company operating in Gulf waters, with one classified report showing how the company "neglected key equipment needed for an emergency shutdown, including safety shutoff valves and gas and fire detectors similar to those that could have helped prevent the fire and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig." Never mind the evidence which reveals BP's record of serial criminal safety violations in America with OSHA statistics showing the company ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations. In spite of all of this, the message from the British right is 'For goodness sake, pull yourselves together.'"

Full article here (The Huffington Post)

No comments:

Post a Comment