If a tree falls in the woods, will the media still be there?
Last week, a co-worker came into my office and noted that I’m still going on about the BP Gulf oil spill. I don’t share this blog with too many people I know personally, and this co-worker was one of the few I had mentioned it to. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised by her comment but I did ask anyway…
“What do you mean?”
“Isn’t it kind of, over?”
“Oh, it’s not on the news anymore, so I thought…”
“You don’t read my blog these days, do you?”
Her face reddened, but I laughed, “It’s okay, it’s not for everybody. I’m not worried about it.”
And I wasn’t. I’m not. I’m not worried about the blog, but I am concerned about the Gulf. I worry about perceptions, the lack of news coverage, the way we are so quick to forget about things in this country and what happens when we don’t remember. Desperately needed funding dries up. Guilty parties, like British Petroleum get to complete their exit. Organizations like the NOAA can reintroduce false narratives about the oil being gone again. Governors and politicians trying to exploit situations for their own political benefit cease to be called on their shit. The word “abandonment” begins the slow creep into the region’s popular lexicon. And when those in charge try to tell everybody things are back to normal or safe, journalistic pressure isn’t so strongly applied; the need for the the authorities to give evidence to their claims isn’t so in demand, and they know it.
What’s that old story line…when a tree falls in the woods, if no one is there to hear it, will it make a sound? Okay, well if the Gulf Coast is still a disaster, but no large news organizations are around to report the mess, does the mess exist?
Depends on where you live I suppose, or at least what you are paying attention to.
So yes, I am still paying attention and I am still writing about the Gulf. I talk it up amongst the people I know, try to keep it in the minds of those around me in the hopes they too mention it to others. I write this blog to express my anger at the situation and offer a few possible suggestions to think about. When you’re 900 miles away, it’s what I can do, so I do it.
So no, I tell people round here, it’s not over, far from it, no matter how much we all it want it to be.
And yes, the people in the Gulf Coast have noticed the cameras are fading, fading away…and they notice when the shark gets jumped and stories become less about the still dramatic effects of the spill, and more about how America is moving on.
Articles, like this one:
Have a nice day.