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  • Live from the Gulf: Obama Team Blocks Media from Oil Spill

    Last week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported that the federal government was blocking media access to coastal areas around the Gulf, preventing them from taking photos and reporting on the environmental damage of the oil spill. You can watch the video and see Cooper is livid that the Obama administration is treating him and his colleagues this way.

    Cooper of course compares this to Katrina when media were blocked from…well we’re unsure what the media was blocked from in Katrina, since the photos and video from the Superdome, the Convention Center, the overpasses, levees, streets and neighborhoods contributed to possibly the most photographed crisis in history. (Cooper points out that they were blocked from seeing people “dying in their homes” – yeah, uh, same thing)

    There are two real stories here, and we do appreciate Cooper bringing one of them to light. The media should of course not be blocked by the federal government from safely reporting on the spill and its effects. The heartbreaking images of oil soaked pelicans, turtles, tarballs and destroyed marshes achieve one important goal – to remind Americans of the disaster the federal government is ignoring. To this day, the media continue to have unnecessarily limited and prohibitive access to the disaster area, including reporters being hassled on public streets. NPR reported yesterday on a reporter who was asked to reveal the images on his camera, and his social security number by members of the local police, FBI and BP.

    But there is a second story.

    The second story is that while national reporters are fighting the Obama administration’s lack of transparency, they’re not reporting the Obama administration’s lack of competence. Every minute a correspondent scuba dives into the Gulf to reveal that oil is, well, murky, or an anchor shows you another tarball, we miss out on real journalistic oversight.

    The Obama administration is making catastrophic decisions every day that are crippling the Gulf Coast environment and economy, yet this story is not being told. A team of experts from The Heritage Foundation, without any credentials, were able to move along the coast unfettered, interview officials, fisherman, port workers and experts to discover major mistakes being made in the response efforts. These stories do not require a pristine camera shot, but rather some old fashioned investigating.

    Yes, the story that the White House is engaging in a cover-up mentality is important. As the Louisville Courier-Journal reported yesterday: “The National Press Photographers Association has sent a letter to President Obama expressing outrage at the new rules and requesting that he rescind them. The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, a union that includes broadcast journalists, is monitoring reports of denial of access and censorship.”

    But as Billy Nungesser, President of Plaquemines Parish said to Anderson Cooper: “Maybe if [the Federal Government] spent more time getting things like that deployed to pick up the oil, they wouldn’t have to worry about blocking access from the media…if we did our job, and did the right thing, the news you would be reporting would be good news. You would be showing marsh being clean.”

    Exactly, let’s also focus on what the government is hiding rather than just the methods they’re using to keep things hidden. And if the government is held accountable for the cleanup they are solely responsible for managing, then the media will be let in because the story will finally get better. We hope.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    43 Responses to Live from the Gulf: Obama Team Blocks Media from Oil Spill

    1. M ike Frankinburger says:

      One way in which the spill and Katrina are alike is that, in both cases, a swarm of bureaucrats performing makework jobs descended on the region. After Katrina, two floors of the good-sized building in which I worked were taken over by FEMA. They loaded the place with zillions of tax dollars worth of new furniture and computers. They had two 24-hr armed secutity guards posted. I asked one of the guards what all those FEMA people did all day every day. He replied that they " . . . mostly just play video games on their new computers and complain about having to be here".

      Semper Fi'.

    2. Karen, SD California says:

      WOW Anderson seems a bit put out by the government that he has been touting the last 18 months on CNN- I do believe that he is beginning to understand the true meaning of transparency as defined by CNN's beloved BHO administration- Could it be they are about to see the light??????

    3. Pingback: Live from the Gulf: Obama Team Blocks Media from Oil Spill | Plug The Bleeping Hole

    4. Billie says:

      watcha hidin' Mr. President? we already see your ignorance, hear your deception, feel your reluctance to act to protect peoples lives. Who's employed there? Why would you want to publically endanger human life here and in Arizona? Have you no value for human life, Mr.President? Or, no value for specific human life? Tell the people why you are destroying America, Mr. President. In your own words…

    5. Pingback: BP News

    6. Pingback: Live from the Gulf: Obama Team Blocks Media from Oil Spill « Faulk For Congress

    7. Brian J. Donovan, Ta says:

      Controlling and restricting media access to the areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher is merely one tactic in BP's strategy to limit its liability.

      For a clear understanding of BP's comprehensive strategy, visit:

      http://renergie.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/bps-stra

    8. Sandra Braddock says:

      My understanding was the first thing Obama's administration did was call in the swat team. Yet I've never heard another thing about why that was done or what was found. Also, why would President Obama loan $2B in taxpayer dollars to Petrobras oil, in Brazil last year as an initial investment creating jobs in Brazil when we need jobs here so desperately? George Soros being the largest shareholder is another troubling connection. Now the oil rigs are leaving the US because they can't afford to leave such expensive equipment idle while our president is doing everything possible to "encourage" their departure under cover of concern for the environment? More like cap and trade legislation as another nail in our economy and all by design.

    9. Ken Norton, Sutherli says:

      I see very little difference between restricing access of the media and book banning or burning. That is NOT a function of the govt. That is NOT a military operation.

      Also, I would like someone to explain to me "where is FEMA in all of this"?

      Ken N.

    10. George Colgrove says:

      For the most transparent administration ever, Obama and his bureaucracy have become the most elusive. Obama's new rules have resulted with the media and others inundating FOIA offices throughout government with requests that have mounted into massive backlogs that will last for years if not decades. This may be a Lewinski technique of appearing transparent, but using the bureaucratic sloth and the zeal from the media to plug up the system. It has become effective. The only thing Obama has done is to provide job security to an every growing government and once again have a finger to point to when people don't get what they want. There are good people who work in FOIA (freedom of information act) offices throughout who (rare for government) actually produces something with value. These people have become inundated with media request; at the same time are suppressed by their over looming bureaucratic organizations above them.

      To see how Obama has run his office, offices like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, this Oil mess and how his administration has been reluctant in having Feds take the stand in hearing and so on, it is time to question his transparency. Call it what it is.

      Think about it, in regards to FOIA and transparency, we currently have government officials censoring government officials. Why does this not seem quite right? It is time to free FOIA and put it into the private sector. Make legislation that gives them the teeth to go after the government for withholding documents. FOIA is important for revealing government abuses, but right now they are buried in government abuse. Transparency should not be a lofty promise of a failed president, but rather a guarantee granted and delivered by the people. FOIA is the only real check and balance on the federal bureaucracy and if placed in the private sector will be saved from the restrictions (financially and organizationally) placed on them by that bureaucracy.

      Imagine we had quick and guaranteed access to government policies, internal communications, decision making processes, hiring rationales, internal office budgets, job performance records and all other operational information. Now imagine this access was provided by a group of private sector professional who answered to us the people as a paralegal service available on Main Street rather than answering to bureaucrats located in some distant office in DC. Imagine having this service offered in the realm of competition where speed, accuracy, customer service and the regulation of profit are paramount to you getting that information you seek. With this non-governmental solution, maybe we could start getting answers; and moreover maybe – just maybe we could get government employees that would think twice before they spent another dollar or hired another fed or in this case, decided they were not going to approve a permit to clean up an oil spill!

    11. Pingback: Live from the Gulf: Obama Team Blocks Media from Oil Spill | Gulf Oil Spill 2010

    12. onlineanalyst, PA says:

      Rory,

      Clean up two blatant spelling and grammatical errors, and I will link this post elsewhere.

      Paragraph 3, Sentence 2 should read "effects," not "affects."

      Paragraph 5, Sentence 1 should read "are," not "is." Decisions are crippling…

    13. Ray Davenport Portla says:

      CNN is agast that the government is censoring news instead of them.Gee!

    14. Steve, NC says:

      Pictures of oil covered wildlife on the Gulf beaches is news to CNN because people tend to be bleeding heart liberals. There will be no pictures of liberal politicians making stupid decisions in Washington – that is not news to those who watch CNN. The minute the news turns good CNN will be gone. I saw CNN lie through their teeth about what was really going on in Iraq when I was there and I realized then that they couldn’t report both sides of a story if it faced them straight on. They never did report all the good things we were doing or the support some of us got from the local population.

      This administration has got to keep the situation in the Gulf as bad as it possibly can for as long as it can to justify raising our taxes and controlling our freedoms. Politicians thrive on our misery, make matters worse, and lie to us by telling us how much they are doing to provide for us.

      My understanding about FEMA was that they were blocked and left out of the decision making because they had people down there who actually knew something about what needed to be done to mitigate the tragedy as it happened. Can Heritage confirm that statement? Is that just another example the administration doing everything they can to make matters worse – on purpose?

    15. Claire Solt West Pal says:

      Isn't the time for talking about and diagnosing this disasterous Admin about done? Isn't anybody going to do something to prevent collapse? I hardly think that there will be any market for "I told you so." Maybe Zuckerman is on track to mobilizing the true leaders.

    16. Dennis Georgia says:

      I can not believe that the liberal news media would even complain. They belong to obam and crew, they want us to believe that he can do no wrong. It would be nice if they finally admitted that obama is taking this country to a socialist, marxist, or communist state. I do think we have only began to see the extremes that he and the dems will go to to take tghis country down once and for all.

    17. Brian in Miami says:

      Hello? Obama is not intentionally crashing the car regarding the oil leak and the cleanup. He simply does not have the required experience to know how to effectively deal with significant issues like this. Pre-election observers TRIED hard to warn us of this enormous hole in his resume but millions of Americans chose to ignore the facts. To now be surprised or disappointed by his utter and obvious incompetence is like being surprised and disappointed after we hand the keys to the family sedan to our favorite 10 year old nephew and he fails to bring it, or worse, himself home in one piece. In both scenarios a crash and burn is virtually assured. If blame, you must, go to the mirror.

    18. Tim AZ says:

      If the LSM doesn't report it, did it actually happen? The LSM's chickens are coming home to roost. How's that fundamental transformation working out for you?

    19. Norm Klevens says:

      Obama thinks he got what he wanted from this crisis. And now that many people "seem" to blame him for the desecration wreaked by his lack of action, as described in previous articles, he wants to hide it all. The poor pelicans and other wild life along with the beaches etc have been severely damaged. The beaches ought to have signs posted on them like the recovery project highway signs – "Brought to you by Barack Hussein Obama".

    20. skared2deth says:

      How many times did Anderson Cooper say "We are not the enemy here!"

      OHHHH Yes Cooper… you are… you and every other journalist that ignored and hid the truth about Obama to get him elected.

      Don't you dare come to us now and cry foul! YOU ARE the problem!… and you need to go.

      Thanks to the MSM, America's Wall IS Rising – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovlrsFmrGiI

    21. ann kitay fultom, tx says:

      this is my third try – this is a valid e-mail address – would someone address the finding of oil from this gulf disaster in a lake in N. Dakota?

    22. Bob Russell, Texas says:

      Deflection

      Derision

      Diversion

      Deconstruction

      Demonization

      Dissembling

      Disingenuousness

      Demeaning

      Discrediting

      Dictating

      By "The Leader"

      Lead to Disrespect and Distrust; if allowed to continue, may lead to Destruction.

    23. Dwana Townsend Harve says:

      I have been watching Anderson Cooper every night because he seems to be the one with the most news. He was here with us throughout Katrina and now with the oil spill and we certainly appreciate his presence.

      We also want a flood of Photographers and Journalists down here. We believe a documentary needs to be done on this story. We can all learn from the mistakes made, we might just learn the truth that BP and our GVT are in this coverup together. One hand washing the other.

    24. jill -Maine says:

      BHO is desparate to ward off the blood bath in November (to his party.) The Dems are loosing the independents and the moderate dems. They don't have Conservatives and Republicans so they have to aim at getting minorties and extreme left wing environmentaists worked up so they can have a huge turn out in November.

      This is definitely our last chance to save this great country. I have had a stomach ache from the day he won the election. I still can't believe how ignorant the voters are. When they finally awake up it will be too late.

    25. ThomNJ, New Jersey says:

      Cooper was really in full whine mode – well, stand up Cooper, CROSS THE LINE, so to speak, and encourage ALL the other journos to do the same. How about a bit of civil disobedience – especially as skared2deth correctly points out – you are indeed the enemy. Time to make amends, you pack of liars.

      I'd like to see the governors also defy the feds and encourage the oil companies to keep on drilling. too. DEFY THE FEDS!

    26. Dave in CA says:

      This administration is escalating this oil spill from Obama's Katrina to Obama's Chernobyl. I understand that to this day the Russian government denies the true extent of the effects of Chernobyl, insists that nobody lives there, and prevents anyone from entering the region. All to cover up its lies to its citizens and the world. These identical tactics are now being deployed to whitewash Obama's ineptitude and to stifle anything that might question the Government. Another chilling example of what we're dealing with here.

    27. Capt. Robert W. Boyc says:

      Why isn't more being made of the continued failure to suspend the Jones act and use the hugh Skimmer "A WHALE" in the cleanup. Is their subterfuge in continuing this disaster which will be present in the wetlands for 100 years. Why aren't the Senators and Congressmen from the affected states standing up in Congress and expressing their ire. While the oil spill is going on and on, our Southern border is like a large net with big holes and it does not discriminate against terroristic operatives slipping into the country. Failure of the President to take decisive actions in these two issues alone should be the basis for Impeachment.

    28. Jim Chaney says:

      I know that the Obama administration obviously knows constitutional law better that one of its subjects, but it seems to me that "Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or freedom of the press" applies here. Those words are directly from the First Amendment. Possibly, the White House believes that since congress did not make this law, it is not in violation of the Constitution. Maybe they should read Article I, Section I of the Constitution: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States which will consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.” Could it be that Obama reasons that since the power to abridge freedom of the press is not granted by the Constitution, it is therefore not one of the “powers herein granted”, and therefore, not vested in congress. I know that it causes problems when mere peasants actually read, but I don’t see the power to abridge the freedom of the press listed in Article II of the Constitution which describes the job of the President of the United States. It does, however, include the oath of office for the President. That oath, which Obama must have forgotten with so much on his plate, reads as follows: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Maybe President Obama should borrow somebody’s copy of the Constitution and give a read over the weekend. Oops, I forgot. He will be busy taking a hike in Maine with his family, reporters and an army of secret service agents. There will be plenty of reporters available since they have been banned from the Gulf coast.

    29. Charlotte Hetz;etr says:

      BP may be very responsible for the spill, but the damage done is just as much the responsibility of Obama and his co-conspirators. This is just another step in their concerted effort to destroy this country, efforts made despite swearing an oath to defend this country against all enemies including those who are domestic. Their actions,or in this case, in-actions, plus their on-going efforts to circumvent, in not actually destroy the constitution makes it is past time that people started calling this sort of action just what it is, TREASON.

    30. Charlotte Hetzler says:

      BP may be very responsible for the spill, but the damage done is just as much the responsibility of Obama and his co-conspirators. This is just another step in their concerted effort to destroy this country, efforts made despite swearing an oath to defend this country against all enemies including those who are domestic. Their actions,or in this case, in-actions, plus their on-going efforts to circumvent, in not actually destroy the constitution makes it is past time that people started calling this sort of action just what it is, treason!

    31. Edite Lynch says:

      President Obama knows full well November will be very interesting and he is socially engineering what the American people see and hear through the media about the absolute disaster in the Gulf. He knows full well, day to day images of increasing damage being done to the livelihood of folks in the Gulf and the tragic consequences for oil slicked birds , the irrefutable evidence of damage to the local coastline, to the fish and the spread of the oil spill up the Eastern coastline would only increase the sense of incompetence and lack of leadership this President has shown and how it will further translate for voters in November. No pictures, no problem. Russia certainly knew they caught a live one when Obama took office. He operates just like they do. If it is good, you see it, if bad, it didn't happen. This is not the America that most have known over the years as a free and transparent democracy. The Marxists are in control and just try and mess with their agenda.

    32. Pingback: BP caps spill - The Warpath

    33. Bart in Nashville says:

      Obama is not inept. Look at all the problems he has so masterfully magnified.

      It is all in the plan. Divide, conquer and control.

      He may lose part of the Congress come January , but the damage he has inflicted on this country up till that time will be mentioned for decades…..and he'll be darn proud of it.

      Anybody feel like a sucker ?

    34. Marybeth Malloy says:

      We don't have a president– we have a dictator! Every day it is a new challenge.

      It scares me more every day as I watch our government totally infitrated with hand picked, "appointed" positions of power taking over our Dept. of Justice. Our civil liberties and Constitutional principles being re-written to suit the "new" ideologs that have totally taken control of this entire "Executive" branch of government. We have to stand to gether for change. November is our best hope of any chance of stopping some of this destrruction of our basic American Constitutional principals as they were written to be salvaged. My prayers are for the saving of our country and the priciples in was built on.

    35. steve,Johnson City T says:

      This is "political" damage control. If the spill was as bad as they tell us, the news would be unfettered. .

    36. Kate says:

      The media has also played a huge part of destroying tourism in the Gulf Coast area. There are empty white, non-oiled beaches. Florida doesn't look like the coast of Louisiana, and no one goes to Louisiana for beach vacations. Why? Because there are no beaches there, it is marsh and swamp. Alabama and Florida are completely different, but the media makes it look like the entire Gulf Coast looks like Louisiana. I'm all for the media staying away too.

    37. Fran, NY says:

      Finally, Cooper gets it. We've been saying it for 18 months….Obama has the media in his pocket and those who are not, are not allowed in.

    38. George Colgrove says:

      I want to add some more thoughts on FOIA and other so-called inherently governmental jobs. By truly privatizing much of what government does, whether it is with transparency or permitting (keeping this on the subject matter), we the people become customers to services that are based on law, but implemented by professionals unattached to political strings. FOIA is not inherently governmental nor is permitting, it is a service based on a law. Through bureaucratic obfuscations, we have accepted the premise that only government can provide these services. However, when the government provides such services, these services are going to defend the governmental role – or rather the organization who pays for that service. If the customer paid for the services, then the service providers will act in defence of its client. For example, If you need a permit to clean up an oil spill, then you would go to a private sector permitting service, who will still need to follow and be accountable to the law. Because you are their customer, they will assist you in meeting the obligations of that permit so you can move on with your venture. It is in the permitter's best interest to quickly address and to ensure the client can meet the requirements of the permit all the while helping the client pursuit their interest. Government employees however desire to defend turf and seek job security by building backlog. They will not act quickly on a permit. The permit goes into a queue and will be addressed when they get to it. Based on the political whims of the administration and not any continually reliable criteria, the permit will either be approved or declined with no further assistance. Sure you can outlay more resources and appeal. At some point though, the cost are too high. Private sector employees want to have as many clients to increase profit. Efficiency becomes paramount to success.

      In the oil spill mess, had permitters been privatize and not governmental positions, we would have received quick responses separate of political whims. Reasonable solutions would have been drafted and with a reasonable open and transparent exception process provided by the permitting service, permits for cleaning the oil spill or any other need for that matter would have been issued with full public review. In addition, had FOIA been privatize we would have been guaranteed quick and easy access to government operations related to the spill. It would be refreshing to have private contingent of FOIA agents on site to guide reporters to the shoreline to take any photos or to interview any person they wish . It would be nice to have independent FOIA information auditors to ensure the government honored the law. This is transparency. The fact government has to SAY it is transparent is symptomatic that they are not. Also the law was written because of governmental abuse, yet we have government enforcing a law against . . . government?!?! That is like saying Mario Andretti should enforce speed limits. The private sector, not interested in hiding governmental facts, is the only way to combat this kind of secrecy and deception by the government.

      The best feature of privatizing these "inherently governmental" positions is that we no longer need public tax money to go to supporting these positions. Jobs need not eliminated, just transferred (or as feds put it converted) to the place where they belong. These become positions paid for by clients who have skin in the game. Moreover, such efficiency can give birth to new industries such as public information and permitting that not only provide compliance services based on federal law, but also state and local laws as well. Companies in these new industries can service private entities as well. Think of a large corporation who would like to make documents available to the public for whatever reason.

      One way to look at this oil spill and Katrina or just about any other diabolical mess the federal government has created in this country, is that we are finally at the point we can admit to ourselves; government is never the answer. Revert the government back to before FDR. Get the non-military fed ranks below a million again. Have the federal government focus on international affairs and the states focus on the domestic affairs as dictated by the constitution. This process does not need to be a slash and burn process, but a creative and positive transferral of current domestic federal duties done by bureaucrats to the state or local governments and to the industrious and creative entrepreneur where it makes sense. Fully fund the military and our diplomatic staff. Let competition and profit be the regulators to create efficiencies in providing these services. We want solutions. The oil spill will get cleaned up once we the people take charge. But let's not stop there. Let us look at the failures here and move forward with solutions that will prevent inaction from ever happening again. We don't need a moratorium on oil drilling we need a moratorium on government and its bureaucracy.

    39. George Mozzachio, Bo says:

      as always we find the press "running" to the constitution whenever they feel that freedom of the press is endangered. articles are published, letters are sent to the president, a flurry of activity because the press feels first amendment pressure. the same scenario occurred recently when obama barred the almighty press from his meetings with heads of state. they were outraged! what was their degree of outrage when our right (and their right also) to choose healthcare was erased. i believe that the press in America is not earning their right to protection under the first amendment. most are simply obama cheerleaders and for the life of me i cannot understand why. someone's political agenda is and has been clouding reporting in the media. this gulf situation is perfect to begin a "woodward/bernstein' on obama and his ineptitude.

    40. bosucs, TX says:

      Bur Obama is going on Vacation AGAIN…………what a Jerk off

      God Bless America

    41. Pingback: Live from the Gulf: Obama Team Blocks Media from Oil Spill | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. « Berks PA Tea Party

    42. sean rasmussen says:

      YEA welcome to the ^$##% commander in chiefs new order… and to think ANYONE EVER VOTED for this piece of %&$# poor excuse for a human being waste of flesh,. give this $%^&% hole another term and if its not happened yet it will guaranteed destroy the united states.. and the sad thing is there are those who actually are protecting this %^&$ and following his orders rather than outright defy him and remove him from office because of the miles of un constitutional bull$$%%& things hes pulling…. if this man had any good sence of honor he would resign and move out of our country,,,

    43. Pingback: Re:Generator Magazine » Blog Archive » Now that the oil leak has been capped…

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