A great comprehensive article from the Gambit covering all aspects of the journalists’ plight in Southern Louisiana…an article that appears to think reporters are still having some troubles with access to the Gulf…craziness, perhaps we should just ask the big guys…the men in charge what the truth really is:
Thad Allen issued this statement: “I put out a written directive and I can provide it for the record that says the media will have uninhibited access anywhere we’re doing operations, except for two things, if it’s a security or safety problem. That is my policy. I’m the national incident commander.”
Doug Suttles of BP is on record saying the company “fully supports and defends all individuals’ rights to share their personal thoughts and experiences with journalists if they so choose.”
Course, then there is the reality of press access:
- On June 5, sheriff’s deputies in Grand Isle, La., threatened an AP photographer with arrest for criminal trespassing after he spoke to BP employees and took pictures of cleanup workers on a public beach.
- On June 6, an AP reporter was in a boat near an island in Barataria Bay, off the Louisiana coast, when a man in another boat identifying himself as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee ordered the reporter to leave the area. When the reporter asked to see identification, the man refused, saying “My name doesn’t matter, you need to go.”
- According to a June 10 CNN video, one of the network’s news crews was told by a bird rescue worker that he signed a contract with BP stating that he would not talk to the media. The crew was also turned away by BP contractors working at a bird triage area — despite having permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enter the facility.
- On June 11 and 12, private security guards patrolling in the Grand Isle area attempted repeatedly to prevent a crew from New Orleans television station WDSU from walking on a public beach and speaking with cleanup workers.
- On June 13, a charter helicopter pilot carrying an AP photographer was contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration, which told the pilot he had violated the temporary flight restriction by flying below 3,000 feet. Both the pilot and photographer contend the helicopter never flew below 3,000 feet. However, the federal government now says helicopters in the restricted area are allowed to fly as low as 1,500 feet.
And these are only a handful of incidents.
The article in the Gambit cites so many more which would suggest Thad and Doug are not telling the truth about reporter access. It would also appear that when it comes to accessing to the oil spill, the marshlands and beaches, the law is on the reporters’ side…
Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based school and resource for journalists, says BP doesn’t have any right to restrict citizens from anything other than BP’s private property.
“They can keep you off the oil rig, but they cannot keep you from a beach or a wetland, and it doesn’t matter how much they’re spending on the cleanup — they don’t own the property,” McBride says.
Course then there is the BP law…and British Petroleum law is in an alternate reality where, in fact, well, basically just take everything Kelly Mcbride says and reverse it…because as everyone has learned these past few months, what BP says, goes. It’s been this way since April 20th and the government, despite their assurances to the contrary, are still allowing it.
After all, those who control the information, control the perceptions of reality…
Read the article…
Blackout: Media Shutout on the Louisiana Coast
Have a nice day, but don’t talk to any reporters about it.
That might be illegal.