If there is one small silver lining in the oil dense cloud that is consuming the Gulf Coast it is that the politicians who are owned by big oil are being exposed. On CBS’ Face The Nation today, Gov. Haley Barbour continued to downplay the oil spill and blame the media, without disclosing that oil and gas companies have given $1.8 million to his gubernatorial campaigns.
Here is the video of Barbour on Face The Nation today:
When asked by Bob Schieffer about the media coverage, Barbour said, “There should be a differentiation, Bob. The– the– the news coverage of this is– is, of course, there’s a lot of it. And, it’s very sensational and it’s the worst pictures that you can get. And it shows every hour on cable news and several times a day on the regular networks. And the people of the United States have the impression the whole Gulf of Mexico is ankle deep in oil, which is simply not the case. Everybody knows it’s not the case. By God’s grace, we haven’t had any oil yet reach the shore of Mississippi. We’ve had a couple of incursions on our barrier islands but we have lost the first third of the tourist season. And, as Admiral Allen said, there are a lot of people on the coast that make most of their living in three months. And they have been clobbered because of the misperception that our whole coast is knee deep in oil. The– the– the news media could have differentiated between what’s going on in Louisiana and what’s happened to us.”
One might think that Barbour was engaging in the typical Republican speak of blaming the media while sheltering corporate America, but there is a bit more to it than that. As Climate Progress pointed out, “Barbour’s rise in politics has been largely fueled by the oil and gas industry. When Barbour served as the chairman on the RNC during the 1994 and 1996 election cycles, he courted oil and coal companies to donate over $30 million to Republicans — nearly three times the amount given to Democrats.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the lobbying firm that Barbour founded, Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, pulled in $2.24 million in energy company money in 2001 and 2002. (Barbour left in 2003 to run for governor of Mississippi). The icing on the cake is that Barbour leveraged his ties to big energy to the tune of $1.8 million for each of his gubernatorial campaigns. This means that Haley Barbour is nothing more than a paid spokesman for BP.
It is the only explanation for how Barbour can go on television repeatedly and blame the media coverage of the oil spill without acknowledging that the media would have nothing to cover if it wasn’t BP causing the oil spill in the first place. The moral of this story is next time you see a politician from either party say something outlandish, don’t automatically assume that they are stupid or crazy, because most of the time the true answer can be found by following the money. In the case of Haley Barbour a couple of million dollars bought BP a fine spokesman disguised as a governor.