Saturday, July 03, 2010

Maybe if Anderson Cooper Says It

People might start paying attention to the restrictions on members of the press to document the oil catastrophe.

Hopefully, this will teach members of the press that they have cultivated cozy relationships with politicians who will restrict their access to a story regardless.

Because, the only thing the government agencies and big business should fear more than allowing the press to photograph and investigate should be not allowing the press to photograph and investigate.

Right now, government and big business fear neither. That needs to change.

HT DADvocate



Kevin Allman said...

Hopefully, this will teach members of the press that they have cultivated cozy relationships with politicians who will restrict their access to a story regardless.

Pat, I think that's the case in many instances of reporting on Washington and the military, but it's not so applicable here.

The media have been furious at the mendacity of BP, as well as the seeming complicity between a corporation and federal law enforcement. Cooper is right, but he's not the first to say so. Mac McClelland of Mother Jones was the first to send up the big alarm, and she's been hitting the point so often that MSNBC had her on "Countdown" last week. CBS News showed the "not our rules, BP's rules" video, and that went viral on YouTube.

Locally, WDSU challenged a private security worker on a beach and got the incident on video (as well as an official response from BP). WWL-TV did a substantive story about being denied access to a Coast Guard station where they were cleaning birds after having been invited.

And The Times-Picayune and Gambit photographers have been vocal about their lack of access.

These are just a few examples, but I hope people don't see Cooper's statement as a calling-out of the mainstream media in this case. The media are often lazy and far too chummy with the subjects they cover, but I'm glad to see that they're not applying the Wolf Blitzer False Equivalency ("On one hand, on the other hand, we'll have to leave it at that") in this case.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Fair point.

And to clarify, I was discussing the Washington media types. I should have been more specific.*

Even though the lack of access has been covered extensively by local outlets, in a great many "liberal" media outlets, and even in the NYT, there seems to remain a palpable effort to ignore it to the national audience by the insider talking heads.

And a lot of the "conservative/right-wing" media outlets are picking up this story as well (though they are doing it to advance a political objective).

* - I thought I'd posted more comprehensively about this in the past, but the line begins to blur regarding which links I blog and which links I upload to Facebook.

Kevin Allman said...


By the way, did you know that working members of the media can now be charged with a FELONY if they get within 65 feet of working boom or response vessels?

The Coast Guard is enforcing this under the rubric of "safety," which is, of course, bullshit. And all they have to do if there's a particularly hideously oiled beach or habitat is throw up some boom like it was police tape, and photographers can't go past it.

If this is somehow different than Bush-era restrictions on photographing coffins of fallen soldiers, I'd like to know how -- except I don't think even that was a felony. A FELONY.

DADvocate said...

Anderson Cooper repeats "we're not the enemy" several times in the video. What he seems to not understand is that in this case, he is the enemy. Anyone trying to shed the light of truth on this situation is the enemy of BP and the administration.