The “slow-motion” oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico continues to be a major story, but journalists are complaining that BP (the oil company leasing the troubled rig and leading cleanup efforts) and government officials are restricting their efforts to cover the crisis.
Newsweek reports a host of stories from reporters who say the Coast Guard and BP are using a massive restricted flight zone and control over affected areas on the ground to prevent media workers from videotaping and photographing the spill’s effects. Such limits, journalists complain, mean all access to the spill is on BP-controlled boats and aircraft where the company controls what the media is able to see and when they see it.
In Washington, media/government relations are tense too. A chorus of criticism combined with increasing negative coverage has put President Barack Obama’s administration on the media defensive, Yahoo News reports. Reporters say the White House is dodging the media’s questions on its handling of the spill. They have restated their recurring complaint that the president rarely gives news conferences.