Clean-looking sand is being dumped on the beaches of Grand Isle, and some of it is layered over asphalt-like oil residue, according to several reports based on photo and video documentation. But whether this is being done to fortify beaches or to hide oilspill damage is impossible to say -- because of a BP-Coast Guard media blackout threatening $40,000 fines to anyone who tries to get close enough to tell.
Journalism & Media
Despite orders from the "incident commander" and denials by BP, press access to both federal and BP Gulf operations is still restricted. An HHS mobile clinic is surrounded by barbed wire, guarded by police, and declared off limits to reporters by federal "press officers" whose salaries are paid by your taxes.
BusinessJournalism.org provides multimedia coverage of its June 28-30, 2010, "Covering the Green Economy" seminar, including investigative environmental journalist Jeff Goodell; Angel Gonzalez, Houston bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires; Pulitzer winner Gary Cohn; auto writer Jim Motavalli; Susanne Rust, environmental investigative reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch; Shaun McKinnon of the Arizona Republic and Craig Pittman of the St. Petersburg Times; Bryn Nelson, freelance writer and editor, and former award-winning reporter for Newsday; and more.
A high-level seminar in Washington June 29 probed the apparent disconnect between scientific knowledge and public understanding, especially as it relates to climate change. The debate spilled over into the blogosphere.
News media and activists for weeks have reported how federal and local officials have barred them from reporting the Gulf oil spill story from public beaches -- even though they have a legal right to be there. Now Mother Jones' Mac McClelland quotes the Terrebonn Parish Sheriff's office saying some 40 of the deputies enforcing BP'S illegal ban are being paid to work in uniform for BP during their off-duty hours.
A Pew Charitable Trusts workshop in the Netherlands Antilles in 2002 was supposed to be to train scientists in how to deal with the media. But did it amount to a junket that helped spin stories in a way that put out Pew's message on depleted fisheries?
Despite public statements of open media access to Gulf response operation by the Coast Guard and BP, local police are still prohibiting photography. They say BP directed them to do it.
"'Expert Credibility in Climate Change,' a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that 97-98% of climate researchers examined who are most actively publishing in the field support the IPCC conclusions, i.e., are convinced by the evidence for human-caused climate change, and that the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of researchers questioning the findings is significantly below that of convinced researchers."
Promises from BP and the Coast Guard of improved news media access to Gulf spill operations have done little to curtail the obstacles and intimidations journalists face trying to cover the story. Now a top AP editor has asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs for help.
Full Text: SEJ Letter of June 4, 2010, to Coast Guard on Media Access to Deepwater Horizon Spill Response Operations