On emotional stories and issues there is a tendency to quickly link events and motivations. Sometimes it's right and sometimes not so right.
Case in point: Suggestions that BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward is being pulled out of day-to-day Gulf spill operations as punishment for poor performance before Congress yesterday and in the Gulf situation in general.
These reports trace to a Sky News reportwith BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, where he does indeed say Hayward will be stepping back. He doesn't really relate the action to the CEO's immediate performance though. And what is not said in the interview is that this plan was set a couple of weeks ago.
When CNBC called BP to verify — that's one of those things they try to teach you in journalism school — we got this reply:
"This is not news. Two weeks ago on the BP investor call, they announced they'd be forming a new entity, led by Bob Dudley, to oversee all aspects of the spill response."
But timing is everything and after yesterday's hearing, repeated flubs by Hayward, and ongoing speculation that sooner or later BP will have to replace its CEO, it's natural that some Web sites, particularly those that like to put their own perspective on events, would make such a connection.
Heck, we had spirited discussions in this newsroom as well.