Posts Tagged ‘Amrican Morning’

Kiran: Size Doesn’t Matter

May 21, 2010

Or, at least, when it comes to the BP oil spill (polluting the sensitive wetlands of Louisiana and threatening other Gulf states). Yesterday, American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry interviewed Steven Werely, a Purdue mechanical engineer prof who questioned BP’s 5000 barrel/day estimate of the oil leak. When she asked him his own estimate (based in part on a BP video), Werely answered,  “[T]his video is what B.P. is classifying as the smaller of the two leaks. And this one in particular, I just calculated yesterday, the rate on that one is 25,000 barrels a day. And the original leak that I — not just me, but several other well-respected researchers around the country — calculated numbers considerably higher than B.P.’s — something in the order of between 20,000 and 100,000 barrels per day for that main leak.” Kiran responded, “That’s a huge differential, 20,000 to 100,000.”

Apparently, Kiran was not listening closely because she later referenced the Professor Werely’s estimates of the BP oil well leakage at 20,000-100,000 twice in the program. [As can be seen from the professor’s aforementioned quote (from, he also estimated an additional 25,000 barrels/day for the smaller one.] Subsequently, the author sent Kiran a Tweet and left her a comment on the AMfix blog (as James H. of LA) pointing out her mistake. Thereafter, Kiran did not cite Werely’s estimate nor did she correct her error.

Apparently, Kiran was not listening to the author either. Today, Kiran did accurately report, “We heard for the first time from BP: they were talking a little bit about the fact that they may have underestimated the oil spill. Since the disaster began more than a month ago, BP has insisted it’s 5000 barrels a day coming out of that well.”* However, she subsequently mistakenly again asserted, “We spoke to an engineer yesterday who said that the estimations are widely off [and] it’s probably about 20,000 to as much as 100,000 barrels of oil a day leaking out of there.”

Consequently, the author anew gave Kiran three Tweets (including a link to the CNN transcipt of AM yesterday) and posted an AMfix blog comment noting her error. Happily, once more Kiran did not repeat her mistake. Unhappily, she did not correct it either for her AM audience even in a subsequent BP oil spill segment, named, “How Much Oil is Gushing?” Ironically, AM co-anchor John Roberts introduced that very story, saying, “When it comes to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, size, apparently, does matter to the White House now.”

Unfortunately, size does not seem to matter to Kiran now. It should. If Professor Werely is correct, Kiran is overlooking a leak (that “small” 25,000 barrels/day oil leak) that is FIVE TIMES the size of what BP had estimated that the entire well is leaking.  Those of us in the affected states and/or who care about this ecological disaster assuredly do. Hopefully, tomorrow and thereafter, Kiran will, too.

[N.B. The BP well had three oil leaks, one of which has been closed.]

*American Morning – 05/21/10 (@7:29 a.m. ET)