Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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What. The. FUCK. As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, mainstream news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials — working with BP — who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible.

Who gave this order? Thad Allen? If so, Allen’s clearly a class A liar. And who the hell is HE to unilaterally suspend the right of an entire nation to know what’s happening in their own country? I could be wrong here, but I was under the impression that only the President of the United States could suspend First Amendment Rights, and that the POTUS could only do so under conditions where the national security was at stake. Whoever it was who did this, he sounds like a third-world dictator, throwing his weight around when the media’s stories don’t please him.

Comments

  1. #1 Ken
    July 3, 2010

    Now now, obviously your current government is just trying to live up to the high standards of your previous president. This is just one little amendment, there’s still several more to break to match what your people happily let Dubya get away with.

    Actually, I was under the impression that since your people begged for the Patriot Act that your constitution had pretty much become meaningless.

  2. #2 Art
    July 3, 2010

    This isn’t entirely unexpected. The pictures of mucked up beaches gives the impression that the entire beaches along the entire gulf coast are unusable. People are staying away from some beaches that are entire unaffected. Similarly people buying seafood are avoiding all seafood caught in the gulf when a good part of it is perfectly safe. These effects have placed a heavier economic burden upon the residents around the gulf than the oil leak itself has imposed.

    I don’t think any gulf residents wish to downplay the danger or the damage but if people went to the unoiled beaches and and ate the seafood that is still safe it would take a lot of the edge off the situation.

    BP, of course, has its own motivation to try to minimize the perception that the entire gulf is oiled. Any income made by gulf residents from undamaged stretches is income that BP needn’t replace or compensate for. Simple as that.

    I don’t think it is possible to really disguise or alter the impression of a heavily oiled beach or wetland. It is a disaster on so many levels. But the pictures of such devastation present the entire gulf coast as a disaster zone when there are long stretches of beach that are fine. Granted they may not stay so fine as the well is still not capped but if people were to go to the remaining clean beaches this fourth of July it would help out the residents and associated businesses a lot. Both economically and in terms of dignity.

    And if that helps BP a little, so be it.

  3. #3 Pierce R. Butler
    July 3, 2010

    Ken @ # 1 – where did you get the “impression” that we “begged for the Patriot [sic] Act”?

  4. #4 eschoot
    July 3, 2010

    You couldn’t get me to go to the gulf.

  5. #5 skeptifem
    July 3, 2010

    This happens all the time, but usually the mainstream media isn’t trying so hard to get access to the off limits content. The people who succeed do not, and know better. The media is subsidized by the government (they don’t have to investigate anything when they attend press conferences and repeat the official line unquestioningly), and the same people who own the media are able to make or break politicians. A small population of very wealthy people control most of it and they don’t need to call a meeting to know what is good for them and what isn’t. Manufacturing Consent is a book that presents rigorous proof of the way that the media is used to manipulate the public. The book focuses on foreign policy mostly, but the lessons can be applied to other subjects.

    It is easily proven by the range of opinion we are allowed to see in the mainstream media. The range that is allowed for debate is very narrow. With all the hysteria over ‘socialism’ during the last election, you don’t really get to hear or see socialists on television. Major schools of thought like communism and anarchism never have representation on television, either. Business and economic news never critique capitalism or the human cost to business decisions, or how the stock market actually works. They tell you how to invest or how bad/good a quarter was, or what CEOs are making. Foreign policy opinion pieces vary from “the war is too expensive/not effective” to “the war needs to continue”, but never “war is wrong and our government has ill intent in its actions”, or that aggression is wrong in general. It trickles all the way down to how history is written- we were still ‘defending’ vietnam from its own citizens in the vietnam war, according to conventional history books that american kids read. Many major schools of thought are completely neglected when it comes to politics and economics without much good reason. There are global warming deniers but no real effort on the part of media to educate people on what global warming is and how it can be shown to be true. Fox mobilized political protests, ffs. The power of this medium to control the public mind is immense. It isn’t meant to inform people.

  6. #6 yogi-one
    July 4, 2010

    Wow, I had given up on Cooper. Finally, he comes out for something right and does so strongly.

    That in itself is news.

    Whatever Thad Allen does, he serves the president. So Thank Obama for your media blackout. I’m not kidding. Obama is not the populist he parades himself around as. America will learn the hard way.

    BP simply doesn’t give a [redacted] what anyone thinks because they are, well, they’re too big to fail.

    BP hates you, you dumb American consumer. Now go fill your tank with premium, and drive all over the country this weekend.

  7. #7 Sassafras
    July 4, 2010

    they don’t have to investigate anything when they attend press conferences and repeat the official line unquestioningly

    This is true for ANY point of view, not only the “official” one. An anecdotal case may have TV audience appeal, but it is not evidence of a trend.

    If anyone would bother to read the actual policy instead of hyping the interpretation of people interviewed in one “news” article, they might find that there is no governmental action nor any conspiracy by the Coast Guard, OSHA and EPA to prevent journalists from reporting on the spill or deprive anyone of their first amendment rights to freedom of speech, the press, religion, assembly and redress.

    Being told by law enforcement agencies that the law requires that people must wear life vests in a boat is not “preventing” access or stomping on any of those five rights. Booms HAVE been damaged. Being ordered to stay 60′ away from the booms and stay out of the work zone in a toxic environment is not exactly depriving someone of their civil liberties. They can go in if they follow the rules.

    Access to the off-shore contamination would be no different from access to any other environmental mitigation project. Nobody is allowed into the Hot Zone without training, equipment, a safety plan, decontamination facilities and backup. The rules are not there just because they sound good. People can die when they don’t follow them.

    That BP employees told journalists they couldn’t interview workers or take photos on a publicly-accessible beach is a different issue. That is flat wrong, and we should insist that BP adhere to its own published policy.

    We should also not jump to conclusions based on limited information.

  8. #8 the old rang
    July 4, 2010

    I might agree with their assessment of the violation of the First Amendment..

    But, that CNN, which has fired people for reporting ANY negative facts about the DNC, and has a standing policy about slurring any fact about the RNC…

    Has no right to speak about ‘we are not the enemy…’

    They are not the only ones in the dead stream media that constantly and continuously report misstatements as facts…
    and ignore facts, and favor the misstatements

    But, their ratings are well known, and not reported, indicators, that people are getting wise to their reason for not being ‘trusted’ …

  9. #9 skeptifem
    July 4, 2010

    This is true for ANY point of view, not only the “official” one. An anecdotal case may have TV audience appeal, but it is not evidence of a trend.

    There is plenty of evidence of this trend. I gave names of additional materials for you to look into, if you want to.

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