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Need to Know, June 18, 2010

Two months after the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, oil is still spewing into the fragile waters along the Louisiana coastline. The spill has threatened industry and wildlife, and posed a vexing political problem for the White House.

This week on Need to Know, we take a look at the spill from multiple vantage points. First, our medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay examines what is known and what is not known about the effect of the Gulf crisis on human health. As cleanup workers fall ill and locals report strong smells, scientists are debating the health risks. But those on the front lines of this disaster want answers.

Then we travel to the 300-old-year community of Grand Isle, Louisiana, where residents have longed made their livelihoods from the Gulf. Now, all that has changed. Illustrator and satirist Steve Brodner helps us visualize the size of the spill, given how elusive facts have been. And finally, we take a look at how the British have reacted to criticism of one of their most successful corporations.

We also examine America’s renewed fascination with gold, and talk to Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist K’naan, whose song “Wavin’ Flag” was chosen as the theme for this year’s World Cup. Plus, Jon Meacham remembers a time when presidents could talk honestly and realistically about the nation’s problems.


  • Jim Koren

    Well, it’s the Monday after the show was first aired and NO COMMENTS!…….

    That alone should tell you that this show is a failure.

  • Karen

    Maybe it’s just that there are no words to express the horror and sorrow being experienced.

  • tim

    There have been comments posted-mine among them-critical of their poor reporting but mysteriously the next day the comments are gone-imagine an investigative reporting show that covers up its own bad press-lowest of the low

  • danny costello

    Well, I am a loyal fan, and I am going to stick by you. I was happy that your comedian was not on this week; the show is stronger without him. Sorry, if he is your friend. There is surely a Comedy Central outlet for his wit. But, this show is replacing Bill Moyers, and ultimately, the people watching will at least want a gradual withdrawal from the tone of his program. Oh, and one more thing: the word, pundit, only has one “n”! The second I hear “pundent”, I am plunged into the dumbed-down world of Fox & Friends and (sadly, of late) CNN. PBS is where I escape that type of thing. Don’t forget, though, you have a fan here.

  • Brianna – Need to Know

    Tim – your comments are all still visible on the site — they are just located on different posts.

  • Ivan Brugere

    In response to all the critics, I really appreciate Need To Know and especially this episode. There has been surprisingly little reporting done on the /experiences/ of people in the gulf; I suppose it’s much easier to talk about party politics and abstract policy, it’s so easy to forget, if we’re watching most mainstream media outlets, that people are struggling every day. Similarly to what James Carville said, if this spill happened off of Long Island it’d be wall-to-wall about the suffering of rich folks, but looking at the feet-on-the-ground in Louisiana, it’s hard not to think there’s a tacit prejudice toward the south (I’ve heard it expressed in much clearer terms by such ‘enlightened urbanites’). But as coverage like this begins to show, these people are the spirit and heart of America.

    Thank you for these two great segments on the gulf.

    Also a logistical note, I was getting errors trying to stream this video during the weekend (Friday and Saturday), otherwise I would have commented sooner.