« | »

NYT Crows: Oil Leak Finally Has A Face

From a cheering New York Times:

Putting a Face on the Gulf Oil Leak


June 4, 2010

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico finally has a face.

If you check the “page source” for this New York Times web page, you can see that the original title for this article was: "The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico finally has a face."

Or, rather, faces — at once primordially familiar and yet utterly strange under their new bronze patinas. As close-up photographs begin to appear that document the insult and injury done to coastal wildlife by the Deepwater Horizon leak, public pressure on the Obama administration and BP to stop the leak — stoked by an emotional response to such troubling images — will surely grow.

These are the faces that government officials and oil executives may see in their nightmares.

Of course that is the intention of The Times. Otherwise, without these photos, nobody would really give a damn about the leak.

Mind you, this is supposed to be journalism.

“The pelican is the state bird,” said Andy Levin, a photographer who lives in New Orleans and edits the Web photography journal 100Eyes. “That image pretty much sums it up, the one Charlie Riedel took yesterday.” …

“They’re definitely everlasting at this point,” said Denis Paquin, the deputy director of photography at The Associated Press. “That is the power of still photos. This is the start of it, in a sense. They have become that iconic yet horrible vision of what people had expected to see.”

Strong words, but not much of a stretch. Think of it: if you were to close your eyes and try to bring one image to mind from the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Prince William Sound, Alaska, it would probably be a single animal — not any wide-angle, comprehensive panorama. “You will remember a bird completely covered in oil,” Mr. Paquin said

Remember all those AP photos of the oil soaked birds from Saddam’s release of oil in Kuwait or from Mexico’s Ixtoc I spill? We don’t either.

The pictures by Mr. Riedel and Mr. McNamee are not the first taken of distressed wildlife since the leak began on April 20. But it may be safe to say they’re the most extensive and intimate. The images of creatures with clots and clumps of oil on their feathers “would bring most people to tears, whether they like seabirds or not,” Mr. Paquin said.

Which, after all, is the point of journalism.

Mr. Levin has been struggling — as every photojournalist has — with restricted access and sanitized scenes on the Gulf coast…

What a load. Who has been keeping photographers away? The “struggle” has been that the oil hasn’t hit the shore yet in a way to make for tear-jerking photographs. Which is why Mr. Obama has had to keep going back.

For the record, Mr. Paquin added, “I’m told that the birds that were still alive — mostly pelicans and up to 40 of them — were taken to a bird cleaning facility in Ft. Jackson and are being cared for.”

For the record, note that this detail was saved for the final paragraph of the article.

By the way, how many birds are killed by wind farms every year?

Where are their photographs?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, June 5th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “NYT Crows: Oil Leak Finally Has A Face”

  1. proreason says:

    If windfarms ever increase to the scale that the nutters want, they will eradicate many bird species.

    Solar farms will eradicate many land-based species.

    But that’s ok. They mean well.

  2. jobeth says:

    “By the way, how many birds are killed by wind farms every year? Where are their photographs?”


    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find the photo of that poor bird is a stock photo they’ve been holding in their hot little hands until they could finally use it! Probably paid big money for that photo, lol That sound you hear are NYT sighing in glee at getting to use it.

    The fact that this is the poster child bird picture tells me this is the best (only) they have. Believe me when I say if there were all the massive problems they are claiming there would be pages of photos of dead and dying wildlife.

    The photo of the deflated and nearly mummified porpoise that was “drying on the beach” the news was so quick to show…couldn’t have died from the oil. Animal flesh takes more than a few weeks to deteriorate to that level. That animal was dead long before this leak and the corpse may have floated into the sheen before coming ashore.

    When they give me more to look at than a few news presenters talking about a few tar balls and what looks like stock and/or ginned up photos of dead animals….I’ll believe the sky is falling.

    This is a big issue that needs to be dealt with…and is, but the sky is NOT falling and the icebergs are not going to turn black and the Potomac will not have a rainbow sheen on it.

    As I said once before…where it hits…its 100% a real tragedy. Lets deal properly with those people and try to avoid it’s spread.

    But come on….I can’t help but laugh at the “sky is falling” garbage. I live in Florida. The beaches are fine.

    Stop running around in circles and do whats necessary to keep them clean…stop worrying about the icebergs and Europe.

  3. confucius says:

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    Windmills Are Killing Our Birds
    One standard for oil companies, another for green energy sources.

    By Robert Bryce
    September 7, 2009

    On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which dates back to 1918. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.

    ExxonMobil is hardly alone in running afoul of this law. Over the past two decades, federal officials have brought hundreds of similar cases against energy companies.

    Yet there is one group of energy producers that are not being prosecuted for killing birds: wind-power companies. And wind-powered turbines are killing a vast number of birds every year.

    A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont.

    Altamont’s turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon’s tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

    The number of birds killed by wind turbines is highly variable. And biologists believe Altamont, which uses older turbine technology, may be the worst example. But that said, the carnage there likely represents only a fraction of the number of birds killed by windmills. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies.

    “Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Mr. Fry told me. “If there were even one prosecution,” he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously.

    According to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s trade association, each megawatt of installed wind-power results in the killing of between one and six birds per year. At the end of 2008, the U.S. had about 25,000 megawatts of wind turbines.

    This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America’s wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by “green” energy.


    And here is the accompanying photo as published in Wind Concerns Ontario: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://windconcernsontario.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/golden-eagle-altamont-400×300.jpg&imgrefurl=http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/windmills-are-killing-our-birds/&usg=__LkPIc911Q04dyE-8QERReffTHgk=&h=300&w=400&sz=47&hl=en&start=1&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=o7q0sTMUMp4XgM:&tbnh=93&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpicture%2Bof%2Bbird%2Bkilled%2Bby%2Bwindmill%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GFRC%26tbs%3Disch:1.

    And here’s another: http://greenairradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/bird.jpg.

    • proreason says:

      Birds have no defense against windmills. There is nothing in their experience and certainly nothing in their dna that prepares them for hundred foot knives slicing through the air.

      For the ones that die instantly, it’s cruel enough.

      But just imagine the cruelty to the ones who are injured and then torn apart alive by predators that they can no longer escape from.

      There probably isn’t anything comparable on the planet.

      btw, spilled oil is clearly also bad for wildlife…..but when you consider that wildlife destruction because of spilled oil is because of rare mistakes, and wildlife destruction from windmills and solar farms is BUILT IN, then no animal advocate could possibly support windmills or solar farms.

      If windmills and solar farms supplied the same amount of energy as oil, the wildlife destruction would be far far greater than the oil industry, probably by orders of magnitude.

  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    “For the ones that die instantly, it’s cruel enough.

    But just imagine the cruelty to the ones who are injured and then torn apart alive by predators that they can no longer escape from.

    There probably isn’t anything comparable on the planet.”

    Pro, my friend .. there’s something very comparable going on on a daily basis; but that we will never see the NYT’s (or any other media outlet) print the “Face Of”.

    The link below will show us that “Abortion Finally Has A Face”, too; but one that won’t be shown largely because it doesn’t fit their agendas. “Birds”, and such, do a much better job of criminalizing those Big Bad Companies who do nothing but prey on the innocents and people who can’t defend themselves .. the bast_rds.

    Let’s never look into the “Face of Abortion” though. Let’s never criminalize the behavior of those that involve themselves with that deplorable carnage.

    “These are the faces that government officials and … may see in their nightmares.”
    “They’re definitely everlasting at this point,” said Denis Paquin, the deputy director of photography at The Associated Press. “That is the power of still photos. This is the start of it, in a sense. They have become that iconic yet horrible vision of what people had expected to see.”

    These photos (via the link below) are frequently very graphic; but indeed, they are the “Faces of Abortion”. Maybe we should alert the Times for their next sympathy-impact report.


    • jobeth says:

      Thanks for that MR. We must keep these photos in the face of the progressives who think if its inconvenient for them, its ok to do this.

      I just keep remembering when a local pro life group had these photos up on signs, there were those who demanded they take them down…they were offended.

      Think how badly it offended these babies!

      We must never forget them.

  5. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Finally! Some job growth.

    I was hoping the bird-cleaning industry would make a comeback.

    Thank You Mr President!

  6. jobeth says:

    While on some errands in my husbands truck today, I was forced to listen to a radio station (his radio gets awful reception) that I believe was liberal, by the talk I was hearing.

    One interview was with a fisherman from LA who is being effected by the oil spill. It was tooooo great! The host didn’t quite know how to handle him. lol

    I appologize for not knowing what station it was…probably a pubic station but I was lucky to get anything.

    While trying VERY hard to take advantage of his victim hood she kept trying to get him to sing “woe is me”.

    He agreed he was effected and yes it was a bit tough right now, but no more than any other problems they can run into each year. He was still getting a little fishing in as they move around the blocked off areas, as the oil moves around.

    He also told her when she pressed him “What are you going to do, now the fishing is dead”, “Oh, I’ll just go back to making boats or whatever I can find. We can also go as far as Texas or to the Mississippi line. We have a large coast we can fish. I’ll just go where ever I can make money until the fishing comes back. It will be hard but we always make it.” (paraphrased as close as possible)

    I about wrecked laughing at her disappointed voice as she let him go.

    The American spirit will win out every time. This guy will always make it.

  7. canary says:

    How are the injured survivors of the rig doing? I guess there’s a gag order.

    The animal pictures are heart wrenching but I just think alot of animals really bad off should be put to sleep. I’m not sure they are happy being traumatized, imprisoned, & scrubbed by human beings, and still might die. A bad way to die.

  8. Gil says:

    Canary – good point. Why is there a gag order on those who were actually ON the rig and saw first hand what happened and how? Why can’t we hear their narratives and the stories of their families? Something the gov does not want said? Just wondering, as it gives credence to the.. ummm.. conspiracy theories which swirled in the media overseas but never reached US shores shortly after the story broke. There is always a grain of truth in conspiracy theories, and this makes me wonder, is all. Likely you are unaware of these theories, as I have not heard them spoken of on any US network, blog, alternate media, etc.. here. But there, they said from the start it wasn’t a lack of containment which caused this, but an attack by a foreign nation. I have waited to hear the firsthand stories to clear that point up. They are not forthcoming. Also, these overseas conspiracy theorists said that this was why Obama did not go to the Gulf for such a long time and also why he shut down the entire area and sent in SWAT TEAMS.. because it was an act of aggression by a foreign power. All he has done is to downplay it so it goes away without escalating into war. Also, why are there so many boats in the area and the area so difficult to access for the media, etc? National security. That is the theory.. just so you know. I’d say more, but it is conspiracy stuff and likely wrong, and who wants to waste time on drivel, but it makes you wonder when they gag people. I am sure they are having a hay day over there with this.

  9. Gil says:

    For consistency, I thought I would post this from the other thread here, Steve posted on it the question “What exactly are these 1,900 ships doing?”

    The media isn’t allowed in to determine the answer to that question.
    Why would that be, do you think?
    I read an article saying that there are no rooms for rent in the area but the hotels remain empty, perhaps to keep prying eyes out, and this article as well.

    Limits on access to oiled waters, coast frustrates journalists
    By Laura Maggi, The Times-Picayune
    May 29, 2010

    Ted Jackson/The Times-PicayuneOily grass and absorbent booms mark the edge of Lake Barre, where workers with Clean Harbor are using absorbent pads to wipe the oil from the marsh grass just south of Cocodrie. Times-Picayune photographer Ted Jackson gained access to the area inside the booms aboard a Coast Guard airboat.When a photographer from The Times-Picayune earlier this week tried to hire a plane to fly over Grand Isle, the charter plane company was told that the flight could not descend below 3,000 feet.

    Southern Seaplane owner Rhonda Panepinto said her husband called the BP Command Center on Tuesday for permission to fly photographer Ted Jackson over Grand Isle, so that he could take pictures of the impact of the spreading oil from the Deepwater Horizon well. But the plane company was told by a BP contractor that media flights weren’t allowed in the restricted air space established by the Federal Aviation Administration.

    “They told him absolutely no media or press on any planes. The press flights are limited to Saturdays only and only in Coast Guard helicopters,” Panepinto said.

    Southern Seaplane officials have complained about this restriction, as well as broader controls on their ability to fly other people into the “temporary flight restriction” area in the Gulf, to the FAA. The restricted area is large, including huge swaths of the coastline miles away from the Deepwater Horizon site. The 3,000-feet restriction means that photographers hiring private planes would have to fly so high they are unlikely to get clear photos of the ground.

    In a statement, the FAA maintains that BP employees or contractors are not calling the shots on who gets to fly into the restricted air space, saying those decisions are made by the FAA and Coast Guard. But agency spokespeople acknowledge that media access is limited, saying they are only allowing flights into the restricted area that are directly related to the disaster response.

    While news organizations won’t be allowed to hire planes or helicopters, the FAA plans to arrange pool flights through the Coast Guard, said Laura Brown, the FAA’s deputy assistant administrator for public affairs.

    Sporadic incidents of media outlets being blocked from access to oil-coated beaches or other areas have cropped up in recent weeks. A little more than a week ago, CBS Evening News aired a report showing BP contractors on a boat, along with two Coast Guard officials, who told a news crew to get off an oil-stained beach.

    A Newsweek article posted online earlier this week quoted Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert recounting a trip to the Breton National Wildlife Refuge with Jean-Michel Cousteau and Plaquemines Parish officials. When stopped by a Coast Guard boat, the party was denied access after learning that journalists were on board, according to the article.

    In an interview, Herbert said he spoke on Friday with Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Tony Russell, who said that if he was indeed turned away because he is a news photographer, that is not appropriate. Overall, Hebert said the Coast Guard has been “phenomenally helpful in getting access,” routinely taking photographers up in helicopters and planes to get pictures.


    I think I can answer for the conspiracy nuts on the other side of the ocean and say, they are looking for the submarine that blew the rig to kingdom come and protecting the other platforms in the region. Of course, in totally unrelated (and certainly uncovered by the MSM) news, Steve noted:

    Chavez Oil Platform Sinks Off Venezuela
    Discreetly buried in the ‘Americas’ section of the New York Times:

    Venezuela Offshore Rig Sinks
    Published: May 13, 2010

    LIMA, Peru — An offshore natural gas exploration rig leased to Venezuela’s national oil company sank off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and forced the evacuation of all its 95 workers, President Hugo Chávez announced early Thursday.

    In an attempt to calm nerves after the explosion of an offshore drilling rig last month in the Gulf of Mexico, Venezuelan energy officials said the sunken natural gas rig posed no environment threat and that no workers had died. The cause of the sinking was unclear.


    UNCLEAR… I see. Did anyone ever determine what sunk this rig, by the way? It wasn’t noted on the thread.. so maybe I should go looking.. Just wondering. As I said, sometimes, there is a grain of truth somewhere in there with conspiracy theories..

« Front Page | To Top
« | »