The 2010 Sitting Duck Award to BP Executives

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — BP executives, who made up more unbelievable stories than a newsroom full of columnists on a slow news day, have won the 2010 Sitting Duck Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

“‘It’s the early bird that usually gets the worms,’ to paraphrase founding columnist Benjamin Franklin, but in this case we’re giving the prize to the worms themselves,” said NSNC President Ben Pollock, who regrets that his initials are B.P.

The NSNC presents its annual Sitting Duck Award each year to the person, group or entity that, on a slow news day, can be the subject of a quick and dirty column. The sitting duck is an easy target, low-hanging fruit, this year being waterfowl in foul water.

BP CEO Tony Hayward’s crack about wanting “to get my life back” and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg’s concern for the “small people” gladdened the hearts of columnists, if not those of the victims. BP did respond immediately, and a complex accident requires a complicated, time-consuming repair, Pollock said, but BP’s empathy has bounced more than its stock price.

In this year’s case, the Sitting Duck is like shooting fish in an oil barrel.

Last year’s winner was Sarah Palin, who still has not acknowledged receipt of the prize. In fact, no Sitting Duck has accepted the honor. It is their’s anyway.

A discussion of the Sitting Duck Award, including a complete list of previous winners, is found here.

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