The chart below, from Brad Plumer, shows the amount of media coverage that various oil spills have gotten over the past few decades. The Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 is naturally the biggest, but it turns out that the BP blowout off the coast of Louisiana is so far not even in the top five. Why? Not enough dead ducks:
After the Exxon Valdez disaster, you had scores of images of ducks and otters slathered in crude. There were pictures of dead whales washed up against gleaming black rocky beaches. It was lurid — and impossible to ignore. By contrast, Brulle points out, not nearly as much oil from the BP accident has reached the shores of the Gulf Coast yet. Even groups like Greenpeace have only been able to rustle up a few pictures of a handful of ducks covered with oil. That's not the sort of thing that drives TV coverage. And it may mean that the current spill makes far less of a dent in public opinion than past disasters have.
Brad has more over at his place.