BP’s Attempted Plugging Will Not Be Televised

UPDATE: On Tuesday night, BP, according to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), agreed to keep the video flowing, when it tries to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. Markey noted, “BP made the right decision to allow the public to see this potentially historical event for themselves. The hopes of millions of Americans rest on this effort, and the world deserves a first-hand view of the top kill attempt. BP should now take the next step and make the full 12 possible video feeds available to the public, not just one single feed.”

It took several weeks for BP to make public the live feed of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. But now the oil company, according to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), plans to shut down the video during its next attempt to seal the well, which is scheduled to happen on Wednesday. Is this due to performance anxiety on the part of BP? What could be more gripping reality TV? Markey, understandably, is not happy. Here’s a press release from his office:

Markey: BP to Kill Top Kill Video Feed; BP Says to American People The Solution Will Not Be Televised

After Releasing Public Video Feed, BP Blackout for Well Termination Attempt

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2010) – After pushing BP into providing a live feed of the spill at the bottom of the ocean, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today learned that BP will terminate the live feed during BP’s pivotal attempt to seal the well this week. BP informed Rep. Markey’s office that the live feed would be terminated some time early Wednesday morning, and would continue to be offline until after the attempt at the so-called “top kill” is completed.

“It is outrageous that BP would kill the video feed for the top kill. This BP blackout will obscure a vital moment in this disaster,” said Rep. Markey, who chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee. “After more than a month of spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP is essentially saying to the American people the solution will not be televised.”

Last week, after Rep. Markey’s request, BP agreed to provide live footage of the subsea spill operations. Rep. Markey first provided a live link to the accident site a few minutes before 1:30 PM EST on Thursday, May 20. Demand for the video from the public and the news media was overwhelming. Hundreds of thousands of people visited the Select Committee (www.globalwarming.house.gov) Web site in the first 24 hours. The Energy and Commerce Committee was also able to provide access to the feeds due to Rep. Markey’s request at http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2011:live-feed-of-the-gulf-oil-spill&catid=122:media-advisories&Itemid=55.

According to a BP technical video released yesterday (see http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9033572&contentId=7061710), many of the preparations for the top kill attempt have already been completed. Therefore, Rep. Markey questioned today why the actual attempt to plug the leaking well could not be shown to the American public.

“No one wants to interfere with the operations during the top kill. With those preparations mostly done, now the world should see whether or not this strategy works, and we should see it in real time,” said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey yesterday had also asked BP to provide all 12 available feeds from the accident site, and yesterday released a YouTube video showing the differences between the one feed the public has been allowed to see and the 12 possible feeds available to BP. To view this video, click HERE.



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  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.