APM’s Marketplace, which the hardworking staff once contributed to and has always respected, ran this piece yesterday about BP’s ongoing attempt to depict itself as the victim of the Gulf Oil Spill.
BP’s new recipe for settlement money: Shame a famous chef
British Petroleum was dealt another legal blow today, or at least one of its employees was. A federal jury convicted a former BP drilling engineer, Kurt Mix, of one charge of obstruction for deleting text messages related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The conviction comes on the heels of BP’s latest public relations move, full-page ads in the New York Times that single out what BP says are frivolous claims by businesses affected by the spill.
The bold print headline of the Times ad reads, “Would you pay this claim?” It goes on to describe an anonymous celebrity chef, widely believed to be Emeril Lagasse, who was awarded more than $8 million dollars for what BP calls fictional losses. The ad claims they were fictional because the chef’s management company made more money the year of the spill than the two years prior.
The piece then proceeds to report this:
BP likely chose the New York Times because of its wide reach, and because of who reads it, says Roger Williams University law professor David Logan.
“They know the New York Times is the paper of record for lawyers, judges and law professors, and it must be viewed as a sound, strategic investment,” he says.
Except . . . the same ad (and all the others in BP’s pity-party campaign) also ran in the Wall Street Journal.
Which doesn’t mean Marketplace was wrong.
This has Bittman’s dirty fingers all over it. Which is actually kind of gross.
Yeah . . .
1: Don’t underestimate how time-constricted public radio pieces often are. If they start explaining why a given ad was in every newspaper, it might’ve blown the post.
2. Maybe it’s because they know the New York Times still matters and the WSJ doesn’t? ZING!!
3. More seriously, if the point is to relay the story to the average public radio listener, the fact that the ad ran in the WSJ matters far less than that it ran in the NYT because of the perceived audience of each paper. Ads in the WSJ would be seen more as “preaching to the choir”.
4. My defense of Marketplace is not to say that you’re not correct. I agree that it would’ve been better if they’d acknowledged that the campaign was also in other papers, not just the NYT.