Monday, September 8, 2014

60 Minutes of PR?

           After our class discussion on BP and the enormous fine it was facing, I had seen an episode of 60 Minutes that covered compensation issues BP was facing.  Scott Pelley, a reporter for the show, interviewed multiple people associated to the compensation lawsuits.  Throughout the episode, Pelley maintained a tone that sided with BP and he seemed to hardly disagree with statements made by Geoff Morrell, a BP executive.  Morrell expressed the injustice BP was facing when it came to compensation claims because people that could not have possibly been affected by the oil spill were seeking payment that BP could not afford.  Supposedly two-thirds of all people who sought compensation had been denied, which included claims as outrageous as a man in Norway saying he slipped and hurt himself due to the oil spill.  Scott Pelley and 60 Minutes had sparked conflicting emotions in my head that made me identify BP as a victim, but I realized that I as a viewer was the victim.
            I began writing my blog about how BP is consistently scrutinized under a microscope of negativity and that the company’s voice is never listened to anymore.  I began to look at BP’s website to gain more of a perspective on the fraud that they were dealing with associated to claims filed for compensation.  I noticed that under their page titled “BuildingCommunity Capacity”, BP is not shy about listing off the charitable organizations and programs that they sponsor, but they stray away from publicly mentioning any media companies that they are involved with.  Within a one hour break of watching TV to clear my head a little, I had seen yet another BP commercial that spoke of the reforms that the company is making to fix the damage it has done.  This had me thinking back to our discussion in class about companies trying to establish an image that they want their consumers to buy into.  I had a change of thought and started to think that BP cared more about cleaning their image than actually cleaning the environmental mess it caused.  I realized that its area of interest was corporate news.
            In whatever form it is presented, we should all have the ability to receive our news without needing to question its reliability.  News should be given in a more balanced fashion without biased reporting clouding our judgment.  After becoming skeptical of the 60 Minutes report, I watched it again to analyze the way Scott Pelley conducted his interviews and the type of information he made sure to highlight.  Now of course Pelley is not the one that finalizes what is included in the program, but why didn’t he speak to people that were actually affected by the horrible spill?  Why didn’t he speak to some of the people that made unjustified compensation claims in order to verify the truth behind them?  Is it perhaps an innocently poor job of reporting or could it be a collaborated effort with BP that involves a giant check.  As viewers we may never know, but it is important to be mindful of the news that we sometimes may carelessly soak up.

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