There is a place where the Gulf oil disaster has a silver lining. Where brave BP employees forgo sleep and comfort in the name of the greater good. Where “aw shucks” fishermen don’t hold grudges and say the spill isn’t BP’s fault. Where the environmental catastrophe serves to bring out the best in us and reminds us of the fragile beauty of the human condition. That place is BP’s company blog.Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal highlighted some choice quotes from a recent issue of BP Planet, the company’s internal, online magazine. But BP is also publishing a publicly accessible blog about the Gulf spill response, staffed by a pair of company reporters who paint rosy pictures of the front lines in dispatch after dispatch.
Filtered through BP’s lens, the disaster in the Gulf becomes an event that is inspiring people to go above and beyond. In a May 31 post, BP reporter Tom Seslar wonders: “What makes a person work 12, 14, often 16 hours a day on the oil spill?” (Warning: The answer may make you feel warm and fuzzy).
It’s not required really, or expected, but it happens nonetheless!
I have an insight now that is so beautifully human it reminds me of the strong threads that make the fabric of people. Just under the surface when things are going family [sic] well, but tested in times of great need, when friends and colleagues, even complete strangers, rely on you to be around to do what must be done.
In a June 15 post detailing a helicopter trip over the gulf, Seslar finds a newfound appreciation for the role of the oil industry in the region. “I’m filled with the wonderment of what’s happening below our chopper only moments after it lifts off from an airport in Houma, La,” he writes. “Not surprisingly, oil’s immense role in that big picture seems easier to grasp up here during two hours in a helicopter at 1,400 feet. I wish everyone could share the experience.” Indeed, it’s a privilege members of the non-company press might appreciate, too.
In “A local newspaper editor discusses the spill’s impact,” Seslar tackles the tough question of “who should be blamed – if anybody.” Of course, no one wants to point fingers — but can you spot the enemy subtly lurking in the following passage?
Thus, all the ferocious elements have come together for a “perfect storm.” Expansion of the offshore oil business has been stopped, at least temporarily. That limits the prospects for offshore service and supply. Commercial shrimping, crabbing and fishing have been brought to a standstill by government order in many areas. Tourism depends heavily on recreational fishing, pleasure boating and pristine beaches. And shipbuilding counts on the thriving health of all of those industries.
The government! That’s what’s screwing up the Gulf! Looking for more proof of BP’s benevolent role in this whole mess? Look no further than locals working in the seafood industry. “There is no reason to hate BP,” Betty Martin, who ran a seafood restaurant and market in Louisiana with her husband, tells Seslar. “The oil spill was an accident,” her husband, Elson, says. “Everybody has somebody – a brother, a father – who works in the oilfield. People understand,” says their son Jeffrey.
They sure do.