NPR logo With Elections Commanding Attention, Watch Out For The 'Bad News Dump'


With Elections Commanding Attention, Watch Out For The 'Bad News Dump'

It's Election Day in America — and that offers some thick cover for anyone wanting to dump unsavory or controversial news without risking being "THE" story of the day. With newsroom eyes trained on the polls, it's a chance for corporations and celebrities to wipe their own slates clean.

In a thoroughly unscientific study, I'm going to try to collect All the News That's Fit to Dump, right here. The main requirement is that the news came out either Monday or today.

One word of warning: This is a subjective process, and it's more about the way a story is managed than about what the story's about. So, it could make you a little jaded and world-weary... or maybe just depressed.

Feel free to put suggestions in the Comment box. I'll add more as the day goes on. Here are some early nominees — including two "legacy" stories that multinational corporate giants hope will go away:

BP Is Profitable, Even After Spill Costs

Is it bad form to be seen making money while a whole bunch of people around the Gulf Coast are still angry at you? Even if the profits BP made came in through other ventures — and even if the company's doing all it can to help those folks — it's not a bad idea to announce a forecast-beating profit on a busy news day.

Relevant Quote:

The cost to BP PLC of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was more than offset in the third quarter by revenues driven in part by higher oil prices, with the British giant posting a $1.79 billion profit, the company reported Tuesday.

Toyota Asks Court To Dismiss Acceleration Lawsuits

The only thing Americans want to know about cars today is how to drive to their polling station — or how to avoid election-related traffic snarls. So it could be a safe time to move to dismiss a class-action lawsuit that alleges electronic defects cause unintended acceleration.

Relevant Quote:

"Toyota is confident that its cars provide safe, reliable transportation and that the plaintiffs have no credible claims of loss or defect," Toyota attorney Cari Dawson said in a company statement. "More than a year after filing their first complaint, plaintiffs have not identified a defect.

BUT: New claims emerged Friday that the company may have bought "runaway cars" back from new owners before the 2009 recall.

Here are some other examples of people and organizations just trying to move on — and choosing an opportune moment to do it.