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July 6, 2010
As transparent as crude oil.
The Federal Government and the Coast Guard have issued new restrictions on press access to the Gulf oil spill and clean up. Reporters are not allowed within 65 feet of any cleanup vessel, or booms on land or in water. Failure to obey these directives is a class D Felony, with fines up to $40,000. This comes on the heals of a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report that found that the Obama administration had repeatedly provided false information on what assets were being used in the clean up, when officials knew about the leak, and the depth of Federal involvement in the operations.
President Obama has been remarkably thin skinned and it's clear from my perspective that Obama is trying desperately to control the negative images that come from the gulf oil disaster. The Press restrictions are so egregious that even CNN's Anderson Cooper is upset. In his broadcast (embedded video) he repeatedly says "we are not the enemy here", referring to the press. The recent actions by the Coast Guard , in direct contradiction to their earlier statements, have more and more reporters hopping mad. The clear implication of these actions is that Administrations is trying to cover up government incompetence and failure.
The new restrictions on press access aren't the only issue, another problem is that the media is still reluctant to place blame for government incompetence at the feet of Obama. Instead of looking to the Obama Administration in light of the new regulations, the media is blaming Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. It would seem that the press still doesn't understand what the term "Commander-in-Chief" actually means. The US Military has always been a favorite press target and the recent criticisms continue the trend.
Sadly, the media still doesn't "get it". They are being played just as eloquently now as they were during the 2008 campaign. Our "watchdog" press has been fawning over President Obama in spite of his unkept promises, cover ups, and incompetence. The masters of spin and distraction at the White House know this and are hard at work on a new story line for the media to swallow. In the fairy tale version of events Obama will have done nothing wrong but the bad Coast Guard (Military types) and evil BP (Corporate types) will be obstructing the President's attempt to be transparent and clean up the gulf. Expect the White House to push this storyline and expect the media to go along despite all evidence to the contrary. Expect the American people to not be so easily fooled.