Deepwater Horizon: the numbers suck

The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.
~Milton Friedman

I still want to know where the damn numbers for gallons/barrels released from the Deepwater Horizon come from. There’s no doubt the spill is getting increasingly larger (and therefore is doing increasing amounts of damage) but I’m still puzzling over the “sources” Wikipedia quotes. I wouldn’t call CNN’s quoting of “government scientists” a source. Had I pulled that stunt in college, I would have failed my classes. No wonder they wouldn’t let us use Wikipedia as a source. Wikipedia’s own sources are crap. An op-ed from the New York Times is only slightly better. Yes, I am critical when it comes to sources. Anyone can pull shit out of their ass and make it sound good. This is especially true when there’s a story to sell.

Only somewhat related to the issue above, I love how the government has handled the situation with BP. Before I get into it, remember two things: One, the government is on big oil’s leash, and two, there’s really only so much BP can (or is willing to) do to plug the leak.

The U.S. government threatened on Sunday [May 23] to remove BP from efforts to seal a blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico if it doesn’t do enough to stop the leak…

…the Obama administration announced it has given BP until the end of the weekend [June 13] to devise a more aggressive strategy for collecting oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Coast Guard said BP Plc has until tomorrow [June 14] to find more capacity to contain its leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico…

BP has been given until Friday, July 2 to provide documentary evidence establishing exactly what is happening behind the scenes at their ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

National Incident Commander Thad Allen gave BP PLC a 24-hour deadline [July 9] to submit to him detailed plans on how it will attach a Helix Producer and place a second cap atop a gushing oil well to help contain it.

What’s the government going to do? Tell BP to go sit in the corner for five minutes? They’ve got us bent over and they know it. The government knows it, but in order to keep the people happy, they have to keep yelling, for all the good it does.

We scream for accountability, but we don’t even demand to see the sources for our “news.” I know and believe that a journalist shouldn’t have to reveal their sources unwillingly, but when it comes to something like, you know, the number of gallons of oil being spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, you’d figure they’d at least link us to the document they pulled the info from. Or is that too much to ask?

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2 Responses to “Deepwater Horizon: the numbers suck”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I loathe just how difficult it is to track down the sources in news media. Whether it be statistics, studies, or even legislation, it takes a substantial amount of digging to get back to the source material. And the times I manage to do so, it seems their reasons for making it so difficult might have something to do with how poorly they reported it. I cannot count the times I have reached the source material only to discover just how misconstrued it has been.

  2. I wonder if it’s gotten to a point where the big newsies just consider /themselves/ to be source-material.

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