Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Idiocy In The Punditry

Another in my ongoing “Idiocy” series…

Howard Fineman was on Countdown last night, expounding as an expert on the company which is infamously dumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Interestingly, in the course of his research on that company he discovered what town it is headquartered in, how many millions it has in cash reserves, the name of its chief executive, how many British ministers it has bribed and that the list included Winston Churchill. What he did not discover is that the name of the company is not “British Petroleum.

British Petroleum merged with Amoco in 1998 and became BP Amoco plc. In 2001 the company formally renamed itself as BP plc, so it has not been “British Petroleum” for more than ten years, and that name appears nowhere on its website. To judge by its own Internet presentation, it has apparently never been known by that name.

I would also challenge his statement about "buying off Winston Churchill in 1925" as being a bit hyperbolic. As Anglo-Persian Oil Company, they paid him to lobby on their behalf, but he was not holding public office at the time, having lost in the 1923 election.

Olbermann has called them erroneously by that name in the past, but I think has learned the error of it, as he was careful to refer to them throughout as “BP.” He did not, of course, correct Fineman’s usage; that would have been against the “code.”

As a result, they both looked like blithering idiots.

Update: Okay, so both of them actually are blithering idiots. That doesn't mean they have to make quite such a point of displaying it.

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