Posts Tagged 'media coverage'

New Rule Blocks Press From Covering Spill

A new rule went into effect last Thursday that bars journalists, reporters and photographers from getting within 65 feet of the oil-soaked beaches, wildlife and booms in the Louisiana Gulf. What does this mean for news coverage going forward? Oh, just that it’ll be really, really sanitized. We’ll no longer see those heartbreaking/maddening photos of sad birds drenched in oil or booms sitting uselessly in marshlands.

Violators could face a fine of $40,000, a felony charge and one to five years in jail. The Coast Guard’s point man Thad Allen says it’s not unusual at all to establish these kinds of safety zones. Hmm…but it does seem unusual to establish this zone on day 73 of the worst oil spill disaster in US history — after nearly three months of futile efforts that are only working toward making BP and government officials in charge of this clean-up look evermore incompetent. It’s so blatantly self-serving, it’s hard to believe they think we’re that dumb. But they’ll get away with it, so I guess we are that dumb.

Anderson Cooper is pissed — as we all should be! He makes a good case for transparency above, saying a rule like this “makes it very easy to hide failure and hide incompetence.” We have a right to see how this spill is unfolding. This is the system of checks and balances — and we need it; it works quite well in disasters like these. Write your representative. Demand they abolish this rule. Don’t take this one lying down.

Read more about this story on Slate, The Raw Story and The Huffington Post.

Obama Misses Mark on Spill Story

A bottom-dwelling eel found dead on the surface of the BP oil slick. Eels are normally never found on the surface unless pulled up from the bottom by shrimping trawlers. Photo by NWFblogs

Sometimes presidents just don’t get it, do they? When President Obama visited the beleaguered Gulf Coast last week, he made the requisite speech about hearing the constituents’ concerns. “The cameras at some point may leave; the media may get tired of the story; but we will not,” he said.

But as The New York Times Media Decoder blog pointed out, this was a puzzling assessment but also typical administration boilerplate. In fact, the media has been there for six weeks now. They’ve actually even been prevented from covering the biggest environmental disaster in US history by BP and government officials who have seemingly been working against them.

And it really resonates when someone as prominent as NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams speaks out about it, too. As he told the NYT: 

“I think the phrase about the cameras leaving is just something that presidential speech writers keep on an F8 key, the kind of stuff they just say, but in this case, it was really off the mark,” he said. “We have all been all over this story and I haven’t seen any sign that we will packing up the cameras any time soon.”

The piece says the story is over-covered if anything. And the public’s interest isn’t waning, according to a Pew Research poll that found 55% of Americans are following the spill “very closely.”

Article from New York  Times

Nashville Under Water, Under-Reported?

Photo by the American Red Cross

Nashville is under water right now, but you may not realize how bad it is with the almost constant coverage of the oil spill in Louisiana and the inept Times Square bomber. Yesterday Newsweek’s The Gaggle blog commented on the lack of coverage and that Google results for the spill come in at 13,800 and the bomb at 8,390 — to the flood’s paltry 2,430. It seems that it was poor timing for the Cumberland River waters to rise (not that there’s ever a good time…) when there are other more dramatic events taking over the headlines.

Check out the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog or the American Red Cross‘s flickr photostream for a look at the situation — it’s pretty impressive.

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