Last summer, when the Macondo Well was still flowing, the US government allowed British Petroleum to keep the press out of the immediate, oil impacted areas. A number of reasons were given at the time…encroachment on private property, safety of cleanup workers, or keeping press boats from running over boom meant to contain the oil.
These reasons were all bullshit, of course.
Hell, at first they even tried to deny they were attempting a media blackout, but what it all comes down to is a private company, with government ascent was allowed to restrict the rights of the press, thus negating much information and imagery that we, as American citizens have a right to read and witness, to be informed about.
And this media blackout is not an anomaly, it is part of a larger overall pattern, evidenced again by the eviction from Zucotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. When the NYPD entered the park, they also attempted to keep the media out, keep them from documenting the raid:
At a news conference after the park was cleared Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg defended the police behavior, saying that the media was kept away “to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press.”
Some members of the media said they were shoved by the police. As the police approached the park they did not distinguish between protesters and members of the press, said Lindsey Christ, a reporter for NY1, a local cable news channel. “Those 20 minutes were some of the scariest of my life,” she said. Ms. Christ said that police officers took a New York Post reporter standing near her and “threw him in a choke-hold.”
Journalists were arrested, pepper-sprayed and beaten by the police, to keep them safe, protected, out of harms way…again, bullshit. It was an obvious attempt to hide what the police were doing, and how they were doing it. Much like British Petroleum tried to keep images of the oil spill from the mainstream press, or limit them however they could to better enable BP to construct the narrative, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD do a similar thing, keeping images from the press knowing full well that more images of the NYPD beating down or pepper spraying protestors would provoke greater sympathy and hamstring their ability to say whatever they like about how the events occurred.
Facts and law are not important…in fact, laws are mere guidelines, something for lawyers to argue about later…
Laws are something for the people to follow, not for those who see themselves in charge…
Press freedom and the rights entailed therein are handed down, controlled from on high – not from the courts, but by larger business interests, politicians and their police departments…
Yes, the great wealth divide in this country is not just about money and who has it, it’s also about who must follow the rule of law, who gets to be heard and by whom and who gets to be on the blunt end of the ongoing militarization of this country’s police departments.
From British Petroleum to Michael Bloomberg to one more police beat down of Berkeley college students…at what point do the laws of this country protect us and our freedoms, instead of protecting those who move so quickly to take these freedoms away in order to protect themselves?
Have a nice day.