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BP: Clean the water, not your image

The Augusta Chronicle At this point, a PR campaign from BP is completely pointless. We know the oil spill is still there, we know that wildlife is still suffering, and we know that BP regrets the situation. We don’t need anyone to present this information in a positive way, and we especially don’t need anyone to hide the truth of injured wildlife images on the Gulf shore. We’re not blind. Yet BP CEO Tony Hayward still finds it necessary to invest in a PR campaign with hopes that everyone will know BP is doing everything it can to clean up the spill. Yeah, they’re definitely doing everything they can — from buying Google search terms to blocking pictures of dead and oily wildlife on a Louisiana island. If you have recently searched Google with the words “oil,” “spill” or any combination containing the two, you probably noticed that the first highlighted results link you to BP’s website, the caption beneath reading: “How BP is helping.” They seem to be trying to help their reputation, at least, by spending an estimated $10,000 per day to redirect the public’s focus with these search terms. Words are cheap. We need action, and Americans have relentlessly demanded it since Deep Horizon sank April 22. Apparently, BP has misinterpreted these demands. They thought we wanted to be rid of the oil spill evidence, not the actual oil spill. Acting accordingly, BP has taken measures to prevent publicity of the devastation caused by the spill. A BP contractor ordered New York Daily News reporters to take no pictures of the dead and injured wildlife at Queen Bess Island, a natural pelican habitat in Louisiana. According to the contractor, BP insists for wildlife photographs and death and injury statistics to remain as unpublicized as possible. Are they hoping Gulf area residents won’t look out their back doors? The truth is, BP needs to stop focusing on its futile PR campaign and focus on the problem instead. Gaining publicity by purchasing Google words may be a strategic PR move, but covering the spill with a layer of positivity doesn’t remove the spill. Nor does banning wildlife pictures — which the public has a right to see. BP needs to stop unsuccessfully trying to distract us from the devastation when it’s in plain sight.

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