[Coral-List] Media and Oil Spill Science

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 26 15:44:33 EDT 2010

Chris Reddy makes good points in his op-ed piece for CNN, 
but the headline could be misleading. 
Perhaps it should read:“How the science relating to the gulf 
oil spill was mangled by everyone involved.”

I don’t like being put in the position of defending the media,
but are they really the most culpable in this scenario?

With all due respect, how else was the information released in
the NIC report of August 2 to be interpreted if not as an overly 
optimistic assessment claiming that a significant portion of the oil 
spill’s impact had been successfully mitigated? 

Why else would introductory statements at the White House press
conference on the report (August 4) suggest that: “The conclusions -- 
key conclusions of the report is that the vast majority of the oil 
has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed and recovered from the wellhead,
or dispersed. And much of the dispersed oil is in the process of relatively 
rapid degradation.”
Followed by a further endorsement that “This has all been subjected to
a scientific protocol, which means you peer review, peer review and peer review.”

Even the Georgia Sea Grant update of August 17 that seemed to clearly challenge
the Inter-Agency Oil Budget Report explained that it determined that 
“the media interpretation of the (NIC) report’s findings has been largely
inaccurate and misleading.” (Rather than the report itself.) 

So the question remains, was it really the reporters who mangled the science
or in this case, did the “science” mangle the reporters? 


More information about the Coral-List mailing list