Exxon has always used a take-no-prisoners strategy: If it’s raining hard, they’ll argue there’s a patch of blue somewhere.

In 1985 when Santa Barbara was preparing for a referendum on regulating offshore oil drilling, the New York Times assigned me to shoot photos for the story.

The image chosen to run, which showed a closeup of sea lion atop a buoy near some oil rigs, evoked a near hysterical response from the company.

According to the Times editor who later phoned me, Exxon’s public affairs representative contacted the paper to complain that the sea lion I’d photographed displayed a “sarcastic expression.”

https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1985/10/27/issue.html — page 26


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