BP Can’t Stop The Oil But Stifles the Media and Free Speech

This is the only image that BP wants you to see

Evidence is mounting that BP is not only trying to control message war as the oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico, but also they are hassling reporters and media who are attempting to report on the clean up efforts. ABC News reporter Matt Gutman captured BP’s daily tactics on video, as the energy giant tries to prevent the American people from seeing the truth.

Here is the video courtesy of ABC News

In Gutman’s case, while he was setting up for a Skype chat on his laptop from a beach in Alabama, a BP manager came up to him and asked, “You mind if I ask why you’ve set up a camera right here while my guys are working?” Gutman assured the BP manager that he was not talking to the BP clean up crew, and that it would only take five minutes, and the BP worker replied, “I find it interesting.” BP has a gag order on all of its employees working on the clean up that bans them from talking to the press.

Grutman and ABC News are not alone. Numerous journalists have been threatened or harassed by BP for trying to report what is going on in the Gulf.

Here is video of BP threatening a boatload of CBS employees 3 weeks ago:

Carlos Miller of, Photography is Not A Crime pointed out today that reporters must be embedded with a rep from BP if they want to cover the story, “In other words, journalists need to be embedded with BP if they want to cover the story. Not much different than how journalists need to be embedded with the military if they want to cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The FAA has created a no-fly zone over the area, and the New York Times reported yesterday that the Department of Homeland Security has been blocking journalists from covering the story, “Last week, Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, tried to bring a small group of journalists with him on a trip he was taking through the gulf on a Coast Guard vessel. Mr. Nelson’s office said the Coast Guard agreed to accommodate the reporters and camera operators. But at about 10 p.m. on the evening before the trip, someone from the Department of Homeland Security’s legislative affairs office called the senator’s office to tell them that no journalists would be allowed.”

I can understand why BP would be trying to keep the media out, but I would love to know who in the Obama administration thought that it would be a good idea to align with BP against the journalists who are trying to report the story? It might seem like good politics to try to keep control of the flow of information during a crisis, but in this case it isn’t. BP is the villain here, and the White House can not benefit by aiding them in any way. If the Obama administration is serious about turning up the heat not only on BP, but also towards pushing for new regulations, then it is critical that the American people see the whole story.

Those of us on the Left howled when the Bush administration presented the American people with a sanitized view of the invasion of Iraq through the use of embedded correspondents that could be manipulated and controlled by the military, and the practice is just as wrong when the Obama administration allows BP to make the rules on who and how information is reported from the Gulf. It is a safe bet that this policy did not come from Obama himself, but he needs to be one to reverse it ASAP.

9 Replies to “BP Can’t Stop The Oil But Stifles the Media and Free Speech”

  1. I can understand a gag from BP if these workers were CEO’s, but simply people who are cleaning up oil on a beach? Blackmailing the very people they are destroying? I would call on COngress but I know they are busy counting the campaign money BP gave them.

    BP must have something up their sleeves to wake up singing we are the world every day. They must wield more power than we can know. For instance a future oil/other products blackmail.

    BP’s products are used every day in the US. They own far more than most of us know.

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  3. All I can say is that I hope the Gulf recipients of this catastrophe sue the living $hit out of BP. Of course they will stall indefinitely like Exxon is, those ba$tards.

  4. Dire Straits said it best. Long post, but it’s appropriate:

    Now warning lights are flashing down at Quality Control
    Somebody threw a spanner and they threw him in the hole
    There’s rumors in the loading bay and anger in the town
    Somebody blew the whistle and the walls came down
    There’s a meeting in the boardroom they’re trying to trace the smell
    There’s leaking in the washroom there’s sneak in personnel
    Somewhere in the corridors someone was heard to sneeze
    ‘Goodness me could this be Industrial Disease ?’

    Caretaker was crucified for sleeping at his post
    Refusing to be pacified it’s him they blame the most
    Watchdog’s got rabies the foreman’s got the fleas
    Everyone’s concerned about Industrial Disease
    There’s panic on the swichboard tongues are knots
    Some come out in sympathy some come out in spots
    Some blame the management some the employees
    And everybody knows it’s the Industrial Disease

    Yea, now the work force is disgusted downs, tools, walks
    Innocence is injured experience just talks
    Everyone seeks damages, everyone agrees
    That these are ‘classic symptoms of a monetary squeeze’
    On ITV and BBC they talk about the curse
    Philosophy is useless; theology is worse
    History boils over there’s an economics freeze
    Sociologists invent words that mean ‘Industrial Disease’

    Doctor Parkinson declared ‘I’m not surprised to see you here
    You’ve got smokers cough from smoking brewer’s droop from drinking beer
    I don’t know how you came to get the Bette Davis knees
    But worst of all young man you’ve got Industrial Disease’
    He wrote me a prescription he said ‘you are depressed
    But I’m glad came came to see me to get this off your chest
    Come back and see me later – next patient please
    Send in another victim of Industrial Disease’

    I go down to Speaker’s Corner I’m thunderstruck
    They got free speech, tourists, police in trucks
    Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong
    There’s a protest singer he’s singing a protest song – he says
    ‘They wanna have a war to keep their factories
    They wanna have a war to keep us on our knees
    They wanna have a war to stop us buying Japanese
    They wanna have a war to stop Industrial Disease

    They’re pointing out the enemy to keep you deaf and blind
    They wanna sap your energy incarcerate your mind
    They give you Rule Brittania, gassy beer, page three
    Two weeks in Espana and Sunday striptease’
    Meanwhile the first Jesus says ‘I’ll cure it soon
    Abolish Monday mornings and Friday afternoons’
    The other one’s out on hunger striker he’s dying by degrees
    How come Jesus gets Industrial Disease?

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