If there’s a continuum between “poor judgment” on one end, with “negligence” in the middle and “gross negligence” on the extreme end, I would assume that BP exercised a series of poor judgments that ended up biting them in the backside.Perhaps BP isn't a purely bad actor, but as Mark Sappenfield of the Christian Science Monitor points out, they've made a lot of gaffes since the incident happened. That means they haven't done themselves many favors in trying to accurately explain the gravity of the spill, because they keep getting caught up in public relations disasters.
Sappenfield acknowleges that it's possible that "BP can't do anything right until it plugs the hole gushing tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico." But Obama, and the Democratic Congress, have made it clear that public relations is just as important as getting the oil cleaned up. That's a tough game to play for a company who is more concerned with profit than PR.