Five weeks into the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the United States, even the right-wing Fox networks are turning on BP, the foreign oil behemoth responsible for the hundred-million-gallon oil gusher now fouling the shores of Louisiana. On Monday, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith challenged top White House adviser David Axelrod why the administration continues to trust BP, whose CEO Tony Hayward bet the disaster will have a “very very modest” impact on the Gulf of Mexico, claimed BP had “contained” the spill, and complained that Americans are too litigious:
And this is the chief executive of the company that’s in charge of cleaning up this disaster now? Who calls us litigious? Who makes comments about the comparative volume of oil and then says the environmental impact is very minimal? And this is the guy we as Americans are supposed to entrust with the largest ecological disaster in American history? Tony Hayward?
On Wednesday, Fox Business Network anchor Liz Claman interviewed John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimper Alliance, whose industry is threatened with extinction by the millions of gallons of dispersed oil contaminating the Gulf Coast. Claman noted that “we can’t trust BP”:
I think one thing we do know is that we can’t trust BP with information at this point. They were the ones, absolutely, you’re correct, who said, “Oh, don’t worry, the oil will not reach the beaches.” Oh, come on!
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This righteous anger at big oil is a remarkable turnaround for the networks that lied about the oil spills caused by Hurricane Katrina, deny the threat of oil pollution to the planet, and shilled for offshore drilling during the “Drill, Baby, Drill” summer of 2008.