Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Liberal Media Fail, NPR Edition

Apparently no one told NPR’s Jeff Brady at All Things Considered that the offshore oil drilling moratorium affects just 33 rigs operating in deep water. Well they did -- but that didn’t stop him from spewing oil industry propaganda. On tonight’s All Things Considered, he buys the oil industry’s bullshit propaganda hook, line and sinker. First we have the headline:
Small Businesses May Sink Under Drilling Hiatus

That’s some lovely fearmongering. Then we have this:

There's a sign in front of Delmar Systems' headquarters in Broussard, La., that reads "Mr. Obama you should not eliminate our jobs."

If the current moratorium continues it could hit Delmar especially hard. The bulk of the company's business is anchoring and mooring semi-submersible drilling rigs. If there are no rigs drilling in the Gulf — there's nothing to anchor. So, it's a little surprising how much activity there is in Delmar's shop these days.

Yes, surprising, isn't it? Why is that? Maybe it’s because the moratorium, I repeat, affects just 33 rigs doing exploratory drilling in water deeper than 500 feet.


Then we have this:

"We figure that for every deepwater well, there's about 1,400 jobs affected," says Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association.

Currently 33 rigs are idled — by Luthi's calculation that's more than 45,000 jobs hanging in the balance. Luthi says the bulk of those workers are employed not by the big names in the oil industry, but by companies like Delmar.

Well by all means let’s take Luthi’s calculation as gospel, why don’t we. Your entire business is predicated on 33 rigs when there are thousands operating in the Gulf of Mexico? Sounds like a bad business plan to me.

Okay, so who is NOIA? According to their website:

NOIA’s mission is to secure reliable access and a fair regulatory and economic environment for the companies that develop the nation’s valuable offshore energy resources in an environmentally responsible manner. NOIA members include producers of oil and natural gas, renewable energy, contractors, marine engineers, service and supply companies and others with an interest in producing energy from the nation's outer continental shelf.

Oh, okay. In other words, an industry group. A trade group. Fair enough. Does NPR’s Jeff Brady tell you that? No he does not. They never do. Like how last month NPR’s April Fulton quoted “Justin Wilson” from the “Center For Consumer Freedom,” one of DC lobbyist Rick Berman’s many phony front groups. Wilson is a busy guy, holding lots of titles with lots of different fake “consumer groups,” all funded by Rick Berman. Did NPR’s April Fulton tell you that? No she did not.

Brady repeats the oil industry talking point thusly:

Some of the companies likely won’t survive a six-month moratorium. Luthi says that’ll lead to more consolidation in the industry and less competition — something he thinks will hurt his industry in the long run.

Oh I have a sad. Oh wait. No, I don’t. Maybe Jeff Brady needs to take this up with all of the tourism and fishing folks who really are suffering right now. Most of them didn’t just lose 33 points of business while thousands of others chug merrily along. These really are small businesses. Take it up with the mom-and-pop shrimp and oyster shacks which have been put out of business. Or New Orleans’ 134-year-old P&J Oyster House , shuttered by the BP oil spill.

Honestly, this is why I go nuts when people tell me that NPR is somehow the “liberal” equivalent of FOX News. No, it’s not. They don’t spew anything close to Democratic Party propaganda in the same way FOX spews Republican Party propaganda. Most of NPR’s programming is cultural, like “My Front Porch” and stories on obscure African drumming ensembles in Zimbabwe. There's no political slant in that. And when they do cover news, it’s poorly done.

This is why I don’t give you people money.

Hey Jeff Brady, maybe next time instead of just buying the oil industry's sad tale of woe, you might try checking with someone else, too. Just to give your piece a little, ya know, balance.

Adding .... And one more thing, because I didn't have time to research it earlier: I know we're all supposed to worship at the altar of the "small business" these days, but Delmar Systems apparently has 200 employees and annual revenues of $10.9 million. That might technically qualify as "small" by Small Business Administration standards, but it's pretty gigantic compared to some of the truly small operations now shut down by the oil spill. People like Vicki Guillot, owner of Debbie’s Cafe, or Tarek Tay, owner of Catch Seafood Pub, both shuttered by the spill. Or people like Cassie Cox, who rents beach umbrellas. Or any of the hundreds of tiny little shrimp shacks and oyster outfits catering to tourists in the summer.

Jeff Brady and the people at Delmar Systems need to talk to these folks and see if anyone is crying for them right now.