Top 10 Reasons — Media Denied Access to the Gulf Spill

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Let’s see, Maybe the NYTimes will help …

Last week, Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, tried to bring a small group of journalists with him on a trip he was taking through the gulf on a Coast Guard vessel. Mr. Nelson’s office said the Coast Guard agreed to accommodate the reporters and camera operators. But at about 10 p.m. on the evening before the trip, someone from the Department of Homeland Security’s legislative affairs office called the senator’s office to tell them that no journalists would be allowed.

“They said it was the Department of Homeland Security’s response-wide policy not to allow elected officials and media on the same ‘federal asset,'” said Bryan Gulley, a spokesman for the senator.


Capt. Ron LaBrec, a Coast Guard spokesman, said that about a week into the cleanup response, the Coast Guard started enforcing a policy that prohibits news media from accompanying candidates for public office on visits to government facilities, “to help manage the large number of requests for media embeds and visits by elected officials.”


Reason 10) Elected officials and Media on the same ‘federal asset,’ are not allowed.

Reason 9) Easier to manage requests for ‘media embeds’ and visits by elected officials.

[Continuing with the previous New York Times report …]

Efforts to Limit the Flow of Spill News

By Jeremy W. Peters, NYTimes — June 9, 2010

A pilot wanted to take a photographer from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans to snap photographs of the oil  slicks blackening the water. The response from a BP contractor who answered the phone late last month at the [Coast Guard-Federal Aviation Administration] command center was swift and absolute: Permission denied.


“We were questioned extensively. Who was on the aircraft? Who did they work for?” recalled Rhonda Panepinto, who owns Southern Seaplane with her husband, Lyle. “The minute we mentioned media, the answer was: ‘Not allowed.'”

Journalists struggling to document the impact of the oil rig explosion have repeatedly found themselves turned away from public areas affected by the spill, and not only by BP and its contractors, but by local law enforcement, the Coast Guard and government officials.


The F.A.A., responding to criticism following the incident with Southern Seaplane, has revised its flight restrictions over the gulf to allow for news media flights on a case-by-case basis.

Continuing with the Top 10 Reasons given … for Why the Media has been Denied Access to the Gulf Spill …

Reason 8) Private Planes escorting Media or Photographers are ‘Not allowed.’

Reason 7) Restrictions for News Media flights, determined on a case-by-case basis.

Well let go back a few weeks, what kind of reasons were given then?  The AP has a few “tales” to tell, in that regard, too …

Media claim access to spill site has been limited

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press Writer — May 30, 2010

Government officials say restrictions are needed to protect wildlife and ensure safe air traffic.


U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration officials said BP PLC was not controlling access.

Coast Guard officials also said there was no intent to conceal the scope of the disaster. Rather, they said, the spill’s complexity had made it difficult to allow the open access sought by the media.


BP contractors are operating alongside the FAA and Coast Guard at a command center that approves or denies flight requests. Charter pilots say they have been denied permission to fly below 3,000 feet when they have reporters or photographers aboard.


Two weeks ago, oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau was turned away from waters near a wildlife sanctuary after the Coast Guard discovered a reporter and a photographer from The Associated Press were on board.


FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said hundreds of flights related to the recovery effort go each day into the restricted airspace, including aircraft from the oil industry and law enforcement that are exempt from the flight restrictions.

[Hey David Letterman … are you guys taking some notes?]

Reason 6) The spill is ‘Too Complex’ to allow the open access sought by the media.

Reason 5) Flights over the spill are A-OK — FROM 3,000 feet or higher!

Reason 4) Oceanographers named Cousteau, OK — Unless you’re bringing a Reporter or Photographer!

Flash Forward to the present moment, back to the CG/FAA/BP war room Command Center …

Efforts to Limit the Flow of Spill News

By Jeremy W. Peters, NYTimes — June 9, 2010  [pg 2]

For journalists on the ground, particularly photographers who hire their own planes, one of the major sources of frustration has been the flight restrictions over the water, where access is off limits in a vast area from the Louisiana bayous to Pensacola, Fla. Each time they fly in the area, they have to be granted permission from the F.A.A.

“Although there’s a tremendous amount of oil, finding out exactly where it’s washing ashore or where booming is going on is very difficult,” said John McCusker, a photographer with The Times-Picayune. “At 3,000 feet you’re shooting through clouds, and it’s difficult to tell the difference between an oil slick and a shadow from a cloud.”

A spokeswoman for the agency, Laura J. Brown, said the flight restrictions are necessary to prevent civilian air traffic from interfering with aircraft assisting the response effort.

Ms. Brown also said the Coast Guard-F.A.A. command center that turned away Southern Seaplane was enforcing the essential-flights-only policy in place at the time; and she said the BP contractor who answered the phone was there because the F.A.A. operations center is in one of BP’s buildings.

Reason 3)  The ‘affected area’ for which FAA has to now grant flight permits — is ‘Too Vast’.

Reason 2)  Civilian air traffic ‘must not mix’ with response-effort air traffic.

and the Number 1 Reason, given

for Why the Media has been Denied Access to the Gulf Spill:

Reason 1)  BP Contractors enforcing Essential-Flights-Only policyare just ‘following orders’.

Hmmmm … I guess the People’s need to “find out exactly WHERE Oil’s washing ashore or WHERE Booming is (or is not) going on” …

Doesn’t really qualify as “Essential”, eh?

Afterall Officials/BP Contractors/Volunteers/Citizens — have one BIG, gigantic, gushing mess to clean up —

They Don’t Need No ‘Stinking’ Reporters, getting in the way or anything, … or maybe OMG!

Actually Reporting on WHERE that Gushing Messit actually “gushing up” NEXT!

No that just won’t do — Must keep those ‘Media Embeds’ — in their ‘designated areas’, at all times. (he said snarkily, for those snark- and meta-impaired readers.)

Otherwise we just might give the Public the impression — that this is some kind of Environmental Disaster — and maybe that it is “out of control” or something …

And we CAN’T have those kind of “impressions” being spread, now, CAN we?

Not on BP’s Watch …


Skip to comment form

    • jamess on June 12, 2010 at 00:10

    I have “tremendous respect” for the “creative engineering”

    taking place in BP’s planning meetings:

    BP Spills Coffee

    upright citizens brigade

    what a bunch of rocket scientists,

    these guys aren’t!

    • banger on June 12, 2010 at 16:44

    I wonder when people are going to understand that the U.S.A. is a carcass being picked by vultures. There is no there there. There once was a Constitution and there was once a Republic with democratic institutions. There are still remnants of democratic institutions here and there in various states and localities but on the federal level not much is left.

    Katrina was one thing–it showed the ugly face behind the curtain–but the Gulf oil disaster is something very unique in the history of this country. Relegated to page two after a few days in the MSM, just take a look at what is being covered. Just today in the front of the WaPo and NYT not one story on the Gulf, not one on the front! This should be perpetually front like the hostage crisis.

    As I’ve often repeated it is critical that those handful of people on the left need to do is record and establish the actual layout of the power arrangements in this country. As semi-fucked as this country was back in the day it is far, far, far worse at this time.  

    • jamess on June 12, 2010 at 20:44

    well, isn’t that special …

    Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    The Encyclopedia of Earth

    Chemical dispersants

    The EPA and Coast Guard approved the use of dispersants, a group of chemicals designed to be sprayed onto oil slicks to accelerate the process of natural dispersion. The dispersants used in the Deepwater Horizon clean-up are Corexit 9500 and Corexit EC9527A, also known as deodorized kerosene. The EPA has pre-approved both for emergencies that are three nautical miles (roughly five kilometers ) off the shoreline and in water depths greater than 30 feet (10 meters).  


    Corexit 9500 is known in prior scientific studies to pose a high level of toxicity to primary producer biota in the water column; in addition, it has been shown to accelerate the uptake of certain likely carcinogenic minority components present in petroleum such as napthalene.

    The dispersants used are approximately 10,000 times more lethal to biota than crude oil itself. Corexit 9500 and Corexit EC9527A, manufactured by an Illinois company, both contain 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical known to cause respiratory and skin irritation effects in humans. These dispersants have been banned for use by the United Kingdom, due to known biological effects on people and natural systems.

    BTW, I just discovered this Encyclopedia of Earth (

    kind of reminds of a “ProPublica version” of Wikipedia …

    very cool.

    • jamess on June 13, 2010 at 05:44

    Charlie Riedel (AP) IS getting Gulf photos

    [warning: many heart-wrenching images below]

    (I think Riedel had an “early” permit, into restricted areas.)

    These are the Iconic Bird photos, you’ve probably seen.

    These look “new” to me. (Includes other Photographers)

    Many of the Oil blobs, and clean up work, other animals:

    more of Charlie Riedel work:

    KC photographer (Riedel) documents oil spill (Local KC News video)

  1. Notice to Airmen direct link from the FAA

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