Oil Soaked Animals, Government and Media
The blithe feathers of our nation’s patrimony are now literally weighed down by oil, but our government and press already exude the sticky toxins of petroleum. In a sense, petroleum companies are big shareholders in the American political and media machines, and the extent to which change is possible will depend on a willingness to bite the hand that feeds. Perhaps BP CEO Tony Hayward’s reticence during his recent congressional testimony was born of a smug knowledge that his company owns a good deal of stock in both the U.S. Congress and the nation’s press.
Open Secrets, whose mission is to track money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy, details the amount of money received by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who is currently investigating BP, from oil and gas companies. In 2010, members of the committee received a combined $1,227,455. The ranking Elephant on the committee, Joe Barton, who stuck his oily foot in his foul mouth by apologizing to BP, received over $100,000 last year, the second only to an Elephant from Missouri, Roy Blunt.
BP, of course, is only one company representing the sizable oil and gas lobby. The industry reaches into its deep pockets to fund a variety of interests, including PBS, a standard of American mainstream journalism. Recently, though, companies like ExxonMobile and Chevron have gone stealth, knowing that any press is bad press at a moment when public anger has been stoked to flame—a particularly dangerous element to oil and gas companies.
Michael Getler, an internal critic at PBS, has written about the issue on his blog at the PBS website. BP, it seems, was funding PBS in 2006, but is no longer a sponsor. As for ExxonMobile and Chevron, they “have minimized their profiles as underwriters of some popular PBS programs as the crisis continues.” Getler goes on to say that “corporate identification continues, as does the financial support of the sponsor, but its prominence on the screen is reduced. This means the normally longer and more descriptive visual and spoken messages are replaced simply by a logo, for example, keeping the company's head down but allowing PBS to make sure it continues to identify its underwriters.”
The large corporations that sponsor PBS are no angels and have included Toyota, Monsanto and Bank of America. But PBS insists that none of their sponsors have a sliver of editorial control and that were they to petition for some, PBS would walk away. It is the difficulty of finding underwriters, however, who are willing to accept the low-profile advertising PBS requires that makes is difficult for the broadcasting company to be more selective about accepting companies as sponsors.
The question about passive influence remains—the possibility of corporate sponsors like ExxonMobile and Monsanto having a subconscious influence on PBS programming. Active vigilance is needed to guard against this influence and should be expected to the same degree across news organizations and government bodies, not only of companies like PBS who already do a better than average job.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
- The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
- One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.