( – 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 policy — are 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 Mess — it 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 …