CBS Sees 'Good News' in Obama Gulf Visit; Touts 'Backlash' Against BP

Mark Strassmann, CBS At the top of Wednesday's CBS Evening News, during a report on the Gulf oil spill, correspondent Mark Strassmann found a silver lining: "The good news: since President Obama's visit to Grand Isle [Louisiana] last Friday, local officials report better coordination with BP and federal agencies."

Strassmann went on to add: "Since the President's visit, the local fire chief says there are three times as many response workers on this island. He also says while local response leaders and national response leaders may have disagreements, at least now once a decision is made everybody's marching in the same direction."

Meanwhile, in a story minutes later, correspondent Ben Tracy discussed the public backlash against oil company BP: "On YouTube, anger at BP is just a mouse click away....The Facebook page calling for a boycott of BP now has nearly 300,000 followers." Tracy pointed out: "BP is about to launch a multimillion dollar television PR campaign. But the company has not been getting much help from its CEO who at times seems tone deaf to the loss of life and livelihood in the Gulf." The broadcast featured no mention of any backlash against the Obama administration.

A May 26 Media Research Center study found that in the first month of the spill, only 5% of network evening news stories on the disaster centered on or mentioned criticisms of the Obama administration's response.

In his report, Tracy touted calls from the left-wing environmental group GreenPeace for more regulation on the oil industry: "GreenPeace says instead of a boycott people should press Congress to regulate offshore drilling." A clip was played of the organization's research director, Kert Davies: "The most important thing that's going to hurt BP over the long haul is more regulation. More oversight. More investigation of their misdeeds."

Here is a portion of Strassmann's June 2nd report:
6:32PM EST

MARK STRASSMANN: On barrier islands off Mississippi and Alabama, an oil cleanup is under way. The good news: since President Obama's visit to Grand Isle last Friday, local officials report better coordination with BP and federal agencies.

CHAISSON: It's kind of like a wife and a husband fighting. You don't get a divorce, you fix your problems. And that's what we've agreed to do.

STRASSMANN: Since the President's visit, the local fire chief says there are three times as many response workers on this island. He also says while local response leaders and national response leaders may have disagreements, at least now once a decision is made everybody's marching in the same direction.
Here is a portion of Tracy's report:
Katie Couric, CBS 6:37PM EST

BEN TRACY: After the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, a one-day boycott did nothing to dent that company's bottom line, so this time around GreenPeace says instead of a boycott people should press Congress to regulate offshore drilling.

KERT DAVIES [RESEARCH DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE]: The most important thing that's going to hurt BP over the long haul is more regulation. More oversight. More investigation of their misdeeds.

TRACY: BP is about to launch a multimillion dollar television PR campaign. But the company has not been getting much help from its CEO who at times seems tone deaf to the loss of life and livelihood in the Gulf.

TONY HAYWARD: There's no one who wants this thing over more than I do. You know, I'd like my life back.

TRACY: Today in several major newspapers, the company ran a full-page ad saying 'We will continue working for as long as it takes. And our efforts will not come at any cost to taxpayers.' But it's the price already being paid in the Gulf that has so many so upset.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC