Submitted by Anne Landman on
The U.S. Coast Guard put in place a new rule slapping journalists with felony charges, a $40,000 fine and one to five years in prison for coming too close to oil spill clean-up efforts without permission. Anderson Cooper of CNN says the new rule makes it "very easy to hide incompetence or failure." The Coast Guard rule prohibits vessels from coming within 20 meters (65 feet) of booming operations, boom or oil spill response operations "under penalty of law." But since oil spill cleanup operations are being conducted on most of the beaches, the rule bans reporters from just about everywhere they need to be. The new rule contradicts a statement made by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen in June, when he promised that "Media will have uninhibited access anywhere we're doing operations, except for two things -- if it's a security or safety problem." Anderson Cooper, commenting on the new rule, said '"Those of us down here trying to accurately show what is happening -- we are not the enemy. I've not heard about any journalist who's disrupted relief efforts; no journalist wants to be seen as having slowed down the cleanup or made things worse. If a Coast Guard official asked me to move, I'd move. But to create a blanket rule that everyone has to stay 65 feet away from boom and boats, that doesn't sound like transparency."
tarball replied on Permalink
B.P. GULF OIL SPILL HITS TEXAS BEACHES
Thursday, June 3, 2010 CAUGHT IN B.P. OIL
Monday, July 5, 2010
B.P. Gulf Oil Spill Tar Balls Hit Texas Beaches Galveston and Bolivar
tarball, aka flounder, alias TSS
Julie Drizin replied on Permalink
Plugging the Journalism Hole
This is outrageous and semi-Soviet. Americans should be infuriated when government protects corporations or engages in behavior that prevents citizens from knowing what officials are allegedly doing on our behalf. This cannot stand. Ultimately, where there's a will, technology will find a way.
Future.Millionaire replied on Permalink
I think this is a smart move by the government--banning reporters from the scene so the crisis is not reminded of to the public everyday. Not just smart, but also cunning.
Cheryl Jenna replied on Permalink
The people, not just in the affected areas of this accident, has the right to know what is happening through the media. Since we all share the same ocean. Hopefully we'll be able to think of a good and effective solution for this problem, SOON.
Aode Foster replied on Permalink
I am still hopeful that this will be Ok. The sooner, the better. For the sake of all the creatures.
wood replied on Permalink
Makes you wonder what they are hiding
fritz replied on Permalink
if there were such a thing as "adequate' in the mind of the media, then limits might not seem so necessary. As it stands, these keystone cop-acting fools have a remarkably consisitent habit of smothering not only the subject of their attention but their very selves in the process, as well. We need people trying, however unsuccessfully, to bring an end to this chapter of this oil catastrophy vastly more than we need to allow unfettered worksite access to an unlimited number of media who consistently fail to demonstrate human-like behavior. Given the technology of the day, 65 feet seems a more than adequate distance from which to chronicle efforts without getting too much in the way. There is no doubt that we cannot survive without a robust media, but too often these characters are no more than locusts whose product very nearly does not justify the resources they burn in their process.
lpcustom replied on Permalink
I'm all about pointing the blame at a bunch of rich people for destroying the environment in the gulf, but the coast guard is undoubtedly looking out for public safety and trying to ensure that the cleanup effort can work without and disruptions. There have probably been many instances where the reporters were in the way. They should be able to report 65 ft away. It's not like they are telling them they can't come within a mile of the cleanup crews.
wzacharias04 replied on Permalink
It's a good thing reporters
It's a good thing reporters has been banned about this issue.
I am hoping that everything will be better. And it would be much better if
we all help together to solve this.
Marc Giaccardo replied on Permalink
20 meter safety ban
I am surprised that SourceWatch would even consider this as an important issue. Beginning to sound like the Tea Bag party and their cries of oppressive government (but only since Obama's election...LOL). It's 65 feet for heavens sake! If you have ever been at an accident scene or other "news worthy" event you know that this perimeter safty zone is absolutely necessry or else the reporters and their tech. support people would be all over the place, getting in the way by accident (to get a really good photo op) and endangering both the crews and themselves. The sound and image equipment is so good today that, from 65 feet the tech folks can hear a whisper and can photograph the wings of a fly. Get over it and focus on BP and the other corporations who are involved. JMJ