Tag Archives: profits above safety

“Profits before safety” Is this dog bites man, or man bites dog story?

One of the most predictable story lines of any major accident involving a major corporate player is the headline: “Company Puts Profit Before Safety.” It is as expected in crisis communication as “Congressman calls for new rules” in the wake of any human-caused crisis. So, if it is so common, why is it news? It’s a “dog bites man” sort of story, isn’t it?

If it is common, then the opposite: “No evidence found of money before safety” in an investigation would be big news, wouldn’t it? Not so apparently. At least in the case of BP. Wall Street Journal is running a story that says a BP spill investigator, has found no evidence of sacrificing safety for profits. Yes, mistakes were made, but apparently out of misjudgments and not out of demand to save money.

If you were to ask ten people on the street if they think BP sacrificed safety for profits, my guess is about 9.4 would say, “absolutely!” So, when you have a story that so confounds conventional wisdom, wouldn’t it be logical to think that Anderson Cooper would think it newsworthy or that the NYT might consider it part of the news that’s fit to print?

Nah, I don’t think so. Doesn’t fit the storyline that they settled on a long time ago.

Well, I must say hats off to WSJ for at least letting us know about this.Turns out if you are a man and you bite a dog, only the Wall Street Journal will pay attention–especially if you are BP.