Wanted: Some Journalists With Guts to Take on the Government and BP!
UPDATE 7/13: ProPublica reports that the Coast Guard, under pressure from news organizations (hey, and maybe the threat of journalistic civil disobedience?) has changed its access rules. The 65-foor rule barring all journalists from any scene of environmental mayhem is gone, and now journalists who first obtain "press credentials" from the Unified Command (that's the Coast Guard, other "involved agencies" like the Dept. of Interior, and, troublingly, BP), will be allowed unfettered access to such sites, though the general public will still be barred. We need to know how the so-called Unified Command is going to determine who qualifies for those press credentials. Will it just be corporate organization journalists, or will freelancers and journalists from the smaller publications like this one who are issued such documents? If the latter, we may still have to challenge the law, which still makes crossing that 65' barrier a Class D Felony with a $40,000 fine and significant jail time.
The Obama administration and BP have clearly been conspiring to hide the magnitude of the Gulf oil catastrophe from the public. One way they're doing this is by threatening jail terms and $40,000 fines against those who go to document the fiasco.
That is ridiculous. There is not a conceivable justification for banning the media from fully covering this environmental disaster.
It’s not a safety issue. It's not national security. It’s not even an issue of reporters getting in the way: in many cases journalists have been barred from areas where nobody is doing anything, but dead sea creatures are piling up on the beach.
The answer to this effort to bury the story is for journalists, and especially photo journalists, to go enmasse to the Gulf and violate the ban. Go ahead. Get arrested in the hundreds, or at least dozens. Let's have a collective defense of the First Amendment! I cannot believe that people are letting this pass.
I mean for god's sake, CNN's Anderson Cooper ran a story on the ban. Why isn't he in jail right now, or out on bail, for refusing to accede to it?
If the big media companies and their prettified "talent" won't put their bodies and their financial muscle on the line to break this official wall of silence, then individual journalists need to do it. (Maybe the corporate media airheads will at least cover the spectacle.)