A Philosopher's Blog

We’re From Exxon and We’re Here to Help…

Posted in Business, Ethics, Humor, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on April 12, 2013
English: To create this SVG-format logo, I too...

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While the failure of the Exxon pipeline has resulted in a significant spill in Arkansas, the media coverage of the incident has been rather limited.  Part of this is due to the nature of the media, but part of this is due to Exxon stepping in and imposing “Corporate Law” in the area. To be specific, Exxon seems to be employing the local sheriffs as their own private security force to keep reporters out of the area. While I am not a constitutional scholar, I would contend that this is a clear violation of the freedom of the press.

Naturally, I would understand it if the sheriffs were being employed to keep people from blundering into the contaminated zones-after all, being exposed to the spill would not be good for a person’s health. However, Exxon is directing its sheriffs to keep reporters away from areas in which there is no actual danger-other than the danger of Exxon and its associates being exposed to press coverage. As usual, I would infer that if they are engaging in such heavy handed and seemingly unconstitutional tactics, then what they are trying to conceal must be very bad indeed. There is also the obvious problem with an oil company using the sheriffs to do their bidding.

Another important point of concern is that the FAA has imposed a no-fly zone over the area of the spill and has apparently put Exxon in charge of this. Obviously, the folks at Exxon are not going to say that they have had their FAA impose the no-fly zone to prevent the press from taking pictures from the air. After all, a corporation imposing a no-fly zone over such an area simply to exclude the press would presumably be illegal. Instead, the claim is that the area must be kept clear to allow a helicopter to fly about without interference.

Now, if there was a significant air operation in the area so that the airspace was crowded, then the imposition of a non-fly zone would make sense. However, this is not the case and there is no reason why other aircraft should be excluded from the area-other than keeping people from seeing what is actually occurring in the area.

To some folks, this might seem to be the sort of thing that could only happen in a third world country with a weak government. After all, the United States government is supposed to have sovereignty in Arkansas and not Exxon. But, this sort of situation does not surprise me in the least.  It merely reminded me of a cartoon I saw years ago in college on the wall in the petroleum engineering department. I don’t recall the whole cartoon, but I remember the main point was “no one screws with the oil companies.” That seems to be as true now as it was then.

It must be inferred that the folks in Exxon think that what they are doing is a good idea and that the consequences of acting in this manner will be better for them than allowing the media the access they are entitled to under the constitution. Or perhaps getting their own way is simply a matter of habit-they are just openly showing who is really in charge here.

For full disclosure, I must note that I own Exxon stock. As such, the profit loving part of my soul is pleased by this show of dominance over the government.  I know that I can count on Exxon to have the power to do what it takes to keep the oil and money flowing. However, the part of my soul that loves the rule of law, freedom of the press and ethical behavior is appalled by this.

I do believe that a company can be ethical and still make a profit-Exxon could handle this situation both effectively and with moral correctness. In fact, they would actually benefit from doing so. But, the habits that arise from owning a chunk of the government are no doubt hard to break.

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20 Responses

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  1. ajmacdonaldjr said, on April 12, 2013 at 8:24 am

    What do you think about this scenario. There is an anti-war protest every Monday morning at the Pentagon Metro station entrance, which is a public place, where various peoples – civilian and military – exist and enter, both to go to and from the Pentagon and to transfer to and from the subway to the bus transfer station, which is 100 feet from the Pentagon Metro entrance. There is no photography of any kind allowed in this public area, which is not a military secured area. To enter the Pentagon itself one must proceed through the nearby checkpoint, which is about 20 feet from the entrance to the Metro. This mean the Monday morning protest cannot be photographed or video recorded. I think this is a violation of freedom of the press because the Metro entrance is a public place. What do you think? To me, photographs and video are essential to the press/media, and there is no need whatsoever for the no photography rule in this public space.

    See: http://vimeo.com/54396917

    Also, there is an ongoing nation media black out of the Gosnell Philly House of Horrors murder trial. Local media and some alternative media are covering the trial, as is foreign media, but nothing in the US national media. The testimony at trial is quite horrifying indeed. Shocking, in fact.

    See: The Not-So-Silent Scream: The Philly House of Horrors Murder Trial and the Coming Legalization of Infanticide – http://wp.me/pPnn7-2a9

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 12, 2013 at 8:59 am

      That does violate the freedom of press, unless there is some legitimate grounds for not allowing it. Since it is a public place, I would suspect there are none. After all, if someone can stand there all day looking at people coming and going, then having pictures taken would seem to add nothing to any alleged security risk.

      Perhaps they just don’t want pictures of people protesting there getting on the news?

      • ajmacdonaldjr said, on April 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        I agree and believe you’re correct about not wanting a protest in the news. The protest has been ongoing, each Monday, since 2003. Ontologically speaking, because it’s never on television, it doesn’t exist. 😦 BTW, the entire Pentagon is viewable via Google Earth, courtesy of the US Navy 🙂 LOL

  2. T. J. Babson said, on April 12, 2013 at 8:47 am

    If we had a real press they would be all over it. Unfortunately, the press is basically an arm of the Democratic party. “Democratic operatives with bylines.”

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 12, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Yes, the Democrats own Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and so on and make them spew forth liberal dogma. 🙂

      While I’d say that MSNBC is a liberal mouthpiece, Fox is clearly the “news” channel for the Republicans. CNN tries to be middle-of-the-road. So, 1/3 of the media is liberal, 1/3 moderate and 1/3 conservative. At least on the surface. Scratch them, and they all bleed green.

      • ajmacdonaldjr said, on April 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        Was the BP spill also a no-fly zone? I don’t remember. Regardless, the private police blocking access to the press is, as you say, squelching the freedom of the press.

      • ajmacdonaldjr said, on April 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        As I mentioned above, the Gosnell murder trial ongoing in Philadelphia is not being covered in the national (US) media. Neither Left nor Right… neither MSNBC nor FOX News is covering this news event. The question is “Why?”

        Gosnell’s House of Horror is not an anomaly… it is the norm.

        In 1973 the back alley butchers – of both women and children – were allowed to butcher on Main Street.

        Other than that, nothing changed 😦

        “Perhaps the media realizes that Gosnell’s house of horrors is much closer to the reality of abortion than Planned Parenthood’s pink, proud, empowerment façade. A young woman namedTonya Reaves died from a hemorrhage last year in a Chicago Planned Parenthood. Jennifer Morbelli became the second (known) adult victim of perhaps the most well-known abortionist in America, Leroy Carhart, when she died in Germantown, Maryland in February. I could go on. But aside from the women who die in abortion facilities, investigations of Virginia clinics by government inspectors on announced visits have also demonstrated unsafe and unsanitary conditions that most of us would not tolerate in our dentist’s office. Dried blood on tables and instruments, pieces of aborted babies dried to the bottom of freezers, staff that failed to wash their hands. And this week, Wilmington, Delaware Planned Parenthood nurses left their jobs and exposed dangerous conditions at their facility, describing a “meat market style of assembly-line abortions” [that] left bloody drainage on the operating tables as patients were rushed in and out of the room.”

        Source: Shocking Photo Shows Empty Media Benches at Kermit Gosnell Trial – http://www.lifenews.com/2013/04/12/shocking-photo-shows-empty-media-benches-at-kermit-gosnell-trial/

        2013 – Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, 29 died as a result of botched abortion at Carhart’s clinic

        “A New Rochelle teacher died after an abortion in Maryland when amniotic fluid seeped into her bloodstream, according to new entries on her death certificate.”

        Source: News 12 – February 20, 2013 – Jennifer Morbelli, New Rochelle teacher, died of complications after abortion, medical examiner says – http://newyork.newsday.com/news/nation/jennifer-morbelli-new-rochelle-teacher-died-of-complications-after-abortion-medical-examiner-says-1.4681091

        2010 – Karnamaya Mongar, 41, died as a result of a botched abortion at Dr Gosnell’s clinic

        “The attorney representing the family of a woman allegedly murdered by abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell says the doctor must be held accountable. Attorney Bernie Smalley has filed a civil suit in the case.”

        Source: CBS Philly – January 24, 2011 – Botched Abortion Victim’s Family Seeks Retribution – http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/01/24/alleged-botched-abortion-victims-family-seeks-retribution/

        April 2013 – Gosnell’s House of Horrors murder trial being blacked-out by US media

        “The news coming out of the Gosnell abortion clinic trial is absolutely horrifying, yet not one network has done any coverage of it. Not one.”

        Source – Twitchy – April 5, 2013 – Patricia Heaton wonders why no Gosnell trial coverage – http://twitchy.com/2013/04/05/patricia-heaton-wonders-why-no-gosnell-trial-coverage/

        “Stephen Massof described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, ‘literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.’ He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, ‘it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place’.”

        Source – NBC 10 Philadelphia – Gosnell Abortion Worker: It Would Rain Fetuses – http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Gosnell-Abortion-Clinic-Trial-Unlicensed-Doctor-Chaos-201515061.html

        “It’s wasn’t fully developed,” West told the Common Pleas Court jury, referring to the 18- to 24-inch long newborn in the pan. It didn’t have eyes or a mouth but it was like screeching, making this noise. It was weird, it sounded like a little alien.”

        Source: Philly.com – April 8, 2012 – Ex Gosnell employee recounts horrors of abortion process – http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-08/news/38376465_1_west-philadelphia-karnamaya-mongar-murder-trial

        “100 babies born alive and then ‘snipped’ with surgical scissors in the back of the neck, to ensure their ‘demise.”

        Source: Daily Mail – April 6, 2013 – ‘Fetuses and blood all over the place’: Medic’s graphic account of ‘be-heading live babies’ at abortion ‘House of Horrors’ in Philadelphia- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2304966/Kermit-Gosnell-trial-Medic-gives-graphic-testimony-heading-live-babies-abortion-House-Horrors.html#ixzz2PyPIINpM

        • T. J. Babson said, on April 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm

          AJM: clearly, the press is worried that people may tilt pro-life if they cover this.

        • biomass2 said, on April 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm

          aj: You’ve presented a lengthy list of the gross butchery of two men: Gosnell and Carhart, and a reference to a death in a Chicago Planned Parenthood Clinic . That’s not much. “I could go on and on” is not enough.
          How do you get from a short list to the conclusion that , “Gosnell’s House of Horror is not an anomaly… it is the norm”? From three examples to “the norm”?

          “Other than that, nothing changed.” Are you saying that as many women are butchered today as were butchered pre-Roe? I would think just the opposite would be the case. I was under the impression that the butchering of women in ‘back alley abortions’ was not at all uncommon then. Of course, “women of means” who found themselves inconveniently ” in a family way” could afford the to bypass the butchery. Even today
          I doubt you’ll find too many cases of “women of means” being butchered. If they want an abortion, they can buy a safe one wherever and whenever they wish. Perhaps that’s the norm we should return to. . .

          Is your real focus on the zygotes, embryos, and fetuses ?

      • T. J. Babson said, on April 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        Yes, there is Fox news.

        Your argument is equivalent arguing that since we have a black president there is no more racism in the U.S.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 14, 2013 at 6:14 am

          Not at all. If 1/3 of the major political positions were held by African-Americans, then I would be inclined to believe that racism was at least on the ropes.

          • WTP said, on April 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

            Behold, what fresh fallacy might this be? And 1/3? Even if that we’re the percent of AA’s, must we also have an equivalent of Irish? Are Chinese Americans suffering because of their under representation?

            “Not at all”. Got that TJ? Not one little bit. Your point is totally without merit.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

              “If 1/3 of the major political positions were held by African-Americans, then I would be inclined to believe that racism was at least on the ropes.”

              Yet blacks account for only 13% of the population. It will probably be a while before they reach 33% of major political positions, if ever.

              This is statistics, not racism.

          • T. J. Babson said, on April 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

            Journalists are being muzzled but are strangely silent–why?

            James Goodale has a message for journalists: Wake up. In his new book, Fighting for the Press (CUNY Journalism Press, 2013), Goodale, chief counsel to The New York Times when its editors published the Pentagon Papers in 1971, argues that President Obama is worse for press freedom than former President Richard Nixon was.

            The Obama administration has prosecuted more alleged leakers of national security information under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined, a course critics say is overly aggressive. Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote in a March op-ed that the administration “has a particular, chilling intolerance” for those who leak. If the Obama administration indicts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act, Goodale argues, the president will have succeeded where Nixon failed by using the act to “end-run” the First Amendment.


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm

              I suspect many are working for a living, so they are taking what they are given.

              But some journalists do complain about such things.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm

              I suspect they are quiet because there is a (D) in the White House.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm

              Not at all. The press has been critical of Obama, albeit far less so than of Bush. The press is generally not loud about corporations that have ties with their own corporations or have the swing to make their will effectively the law.

  3. Nal said, on April 12, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Who’s Airspace Is It? When the media gets it wrong.

    At the request of news media, the FAA is granting waivers for entering the TFR, provided they are credentialed, and coordinate their flights with the supervisor on the ground. That will keep congestion under control and maintain in-flight separation of aircraft, similar to that around any airport. Safety for everyone is paramount. No one wants to see a TV station aircraft have a mid-air collision with another media aircraft or helicopter full of cleanup workers.

  4. Magus said, on April 15, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Ugghhh, Mike. Come back toward the center. Every article you’re writing is dripping with the leftist agenda. A bad combination of William Gibson and HL Menchen. “Go green, go choice, go gay! Or go away!”

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