BP Buys Scientists' Silence For $250 Per Hour
That's 24 minutes right there... photo: Gisela Giardino via flickr.
Perhaps this sort of non-disclosure agreement is normal, but for BP and its growing reputation of trying to stop the free flow of information regarding the Gulf oil spill as much as its trying to stop the flowing oil itself, it doesn't look good: Think Progress reports that BP's agreement with scientists it has recruited to work on their behalf in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Process prohibits them from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or even just talking about the data they collect for three years.So far scientists from Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, and Texas A&M; have signed the $250/hour contract. However Bob Shipp from the University of South Alabama, whose entire department BP attempted to buy, turned them down.
We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn't be hearing from them after that. We didn't like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion.
Culpability and ecological destruction aside, BP's behavior throughout this debacle in terms of managing public expectations and continually trying to manipulate the public relations of this situation really ought to be a case study in how not to do this sort of thing in the modern media environment. It's just missteps and misspoken remarks one after another.
More on the BP Oil Spill:
BP Continues Integrity Test for Extra 24 Hours, Possible Leak Detected
Journalists Covering BP Spill Now Face Felonies, $40K Fines
BP Gulf Oil Spill Officially the Worst in US History