(From Important Media’s newest blog: FailDrill, covering the Gulf Oil Disaster.)
So much for the First Amendment.
Corporations spending money to influence elections… that’s free speech, protected by the First Amendement, according to our Supreme Court.
But reporters talking to oilfield workers? Or taking pictures of booms? Sorry, that’s a felony.
Yobie Benjamin of the SF Gate is outraged:
…Allen has issued a blanket order that bans anyone from getting close to any spill clean up site, boom site, areas where there are clean up workers or any other oil disaster related area or persons effectively shutting down the first amendment rights of the media. The zone of exclusion is 65 feet. There was rumor that Coast Guard bosses wanted to impose a 300 feet exclusion zone but later relented to a 65 feet no trespass and exclusion zone.
This is despite assurances from Thad Allen that there will be full transparency on all clean-up operations. Allen claims local officials were asking the Coast Guard to create a media-free buffer zone. However no media outlet — television, print, Internet or radio could find a single local official who requested the Coast Guard to ban media access to oil sludge sites on land or water. Since no local official requesting a no media zone can be found, it can only be assumed that the ban was requested by BP.