While Interviewing Dem Congressman, ABC, CBS Keep the Focus Off Obama, on BP

Democratic Congressman Ed Markey appeared on ABC and CBS's morning shows on Monday to talk about the Gulf Coast oil spill and didn't face a single question about the government's handling of the disaster. Instead, Good Morning America and the Early Show both kept the heat on BP.

Discussing the likely departure of BP's CEO Tony Hayword, GMA's Robin Roberts pressed, "And that when [Haywood] gave those evasive answers, you felt were evasive answers, when you grilled him on Capitol Hill last month- What do you think about this imminent change? Is it too late for you?"

Early Show's Harry Smith only mentioned the government's role in relation to what the administration thought of Haywood's resignation: "Bob Dudley is supposed to take his place. Already we've gotten reaction from Kenneth Feinberg, who's the arbitrator who's been put in charge of the dispersement of this $20 billion fund and Feinberg says this is a good idea, this is a good move. What do you think?"

On ABC, Roberts ignored the complaints that the Obama administration handled the spill too slowly and focused on BP: "Do you think that kind of- does that signal a true change to you in their culture? In their thinking?"

A transcript of Good Morning America's July 26 segment, which aired at 7:12am EDT, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: Joining us from Washington is one of the leading Democratic voices on energy issues in Congress and that is Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts. And Congressman, thank you so much for joining us. It's clear you have been frustrated by Tony Hayward. And that when he gave those evasive answers, you felt were evasive answers, when you grilled him on Capitol Hill last month. What do you think about this imminent change? Is it too late for you?

REP. ED MARKEY: Well, he had to go. He was the leader of this company. He was the one that allowed the company to run up the worst safety record of any oil company in the world. He was the one that allowed the company to say that it was only 1,000 barrels of oil per day going into the Gulf of Mexico. Then only 5,000 barrels of oil per day were going into the Gulf of Mexico. When we now know it was 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day, which directly affected how rapid and large the response to the spill was. So, he had to go. He was the leader of a company. He created the culture of this company. Now, let us hope that this company can turn the page and become a responsible corporate citizen. Up until now, it has not been.

ROBERTS: And you said as late as Friday, you released a statement over the weekend, you said in part, "I received yet another reminders of Hayward's aloof, uninformed leadership." What exactly happened?

MARKEY: Well, again, Tony Hayward testified that the drilling mug that they put into this well back about a month ago had no toxic materials in. And BP reported back to me on Friday that there were dangerous chemicals in that toxic mud. So, he not only allowed for deliberate misrepresentations to take place, but he was also, obviously, ignorant of what was happening. And the actions of his company were things that he did not feel direct responsibility for knowing about and being accountable for.

ROBERTS: No denying that he made some blunders and some insensitive remarks as well. There are some people, though, that he is being made the scapegoat here. He was put in this position in 2007. He said it was going to take some time to change the corporate culture there at BP. And now we're hearing that Bob Dudley who grew up there in Mississippi, very familiar with the Gulf Coast. Do you think that kind of- does that signal a true change to you in their culture? In their thinking?

MARKEY: Well, Mr. Dudley is from Mississippi, which is a step in the right direction. But, at the same time, Mr. Dudley did represent just a month ago that the relief well could be completed as soon as tomorrow. And tomorrow, actually, happens to be the day when the last quarterly financial report of BP is going to be made public. So, I actually don't like the fact that they picked the date which is something that they're not going to meet. As a coincidence, that it dealt with the financial report. Because ultimately, I think many people in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the United States, believe that BP has been much too interested in its own liability and not enough in the livability in the Gulf of Mexico. Dudley now has to turn the page and move beyond the era that Mr. Hayward presided over.

ROBERTS: Well, you've certainly been at the forefront. And we'll see what happens at the board meeting at BP today. I'm sure we'll be talking with you down the road. Congressman Markey, thank you very much.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org