in case you missed it | BP’s Google gambit


BP’s Google gambit

There are so many reasons to loathe BP that they’re getting hard to count. If you haven’t been sickened by oil sludge on beaches, the sight of suffering and dying wildlife or the news that BP met survivors of their oil rig explosion at the shore asking them to sign forms saying that they hadn’t suffered any personal losses — yes, company CEOs are apparently are more concerned about being sued than meeting the needs of workers who just survived a freaking explosion — then perhaps this next bit of news will finally make you hurl.

While the Gulf of Mexico is dying, BP is spending hard cash on Google and Yahoo search terms in order to have their own website appear first on any Internet search about the catastrophe.

Search “oil spill” or “BP oil spill” or “Gulf of Mexico oil spill,” the first site to greet you is Click there, and you can read how BP is doing everything it can and how BP rocks and how BP will make everything better.

A BP spokeswoman told CNN that the oil giant is doing this in order to better “assist those who are most impacted and help them find the right forms and the right people quickly and effectively.”

Right. What BP is really doing, of course, is taking advantage of concern about the spill to advertise and put their point of view ahead of all others. It’s spin-doctoring in the Internet age. Let’s hope someone out there is buying up search terms like “oil slime,” “corporate scum” and “fucking asshole” and then linking them to hard information about the profits oil and gas CEOs make, the political ties they have and the lengths to which they’re willing to go to cover their own asses when they screw up.

Open mouth, insert career

Remember back in the day when Tony Snow, George W’s press secretary, thanked correspondent Helen Thomas, who had just asked a tough question about the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, for sharing “the Hezbollah view,” and we all thought he was just being an ass? It was an easy assumption to make, because in those days if you weren’t “for us” — i.e., if you questioned the Bush administration’s take on the Middle East — you were “against us” — and probably a terrorist sympathizer.

It turns out that Snow may have been onto something.

On May 27, Thomas, 89, opened her mouth and inserted both feet when she told a rabbi with a video camera to tell Israelis to “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany, Poland and the United States.

Now it turns out that the one White House correspondent who seemed to be the only reporter willing and able to challenge George W’s policies with regard to Iraq blames Israel for terrorism and the conflict in the Middle East.

Those who’ve worked with her say she has long showed an intense anti-Israel bias, and some hint that her own Arab heritage is the cause.

So Tony Snow was right? And Helen Thomas, a champion to some on the progressive left, is actually an Israelhating bigot?

What a shame.

Donkey heads

What had been whispered about for months was finally confirmed by the White House this week: the Obama administration talked to Andrew Romanoff about job possibilities when he was mulling his run against Sen. Michael Bennet.

Now, whether these talks were meant to dissuade him from running depends on whom you ask. Even Romanoff says he was never offered or promised a job. But he has made no bones about the fact that D.C. insiders clearly prefer Bennet and did not want Romanoff in that race.

In February, he told Boulder Weekly about an experience he had more than a year ago while he was in Washington, D.C.

“Someone told me, ‘It’s a nice little reputation you’ve built for yourself. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.’ I thought I’d wake up with a donkey’s head in my bed.”

What was particularly amusing about the White House revelation last week was how quickly the Republicans jumped on it. Since Romanoff is widely seen as a tougher opponent for Republican candidate Jane Norton to beat, you would think that the GOP would not add fuel to a fire that makes Bennet look bad. But in this case, there was a loftier goal: making Obama look bad by pointing out that he engages in the kind of politics he condemns.

We actually have to agree with the Republican spin-meisters when they call for Bennet to reveal what he knew — and when he knew it — when it came to the job talks with Romanoff.