Saturday, June 10, 2023


June 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

British Petroleum may be more effective at containing the news media than it has been at containing the Gulf oil spill, the Washington Post has suggested, noting that the company has, in effect, assumed control over law-enforcement authorities in the area in an effort to restrict access by TV and print journalists and photographers attempting to report on the devastation. Southern Seaplane, a private aviation company, told the newspaper that the FAA and the Coast Guard are refusing to allow its planes to carry media over the area. The Post quoted from a letter by the company’s secretary-treasurer, Rhonda Panepinto, to Louisiana Sen. David Vitter. “We strongly feel that the reason for this massive [temporary flight restriction] is that BP wants to control their exposure to the press,” the letter said. “We are all at the mercy of BP, a British-owned company.” A reporter for Mother Jones magazine wrote that she had been denied permission to visit an wildlife refuge on Elmer’s Island after a BP representative explained, “It’s BP’s oil.” The reporter shot back, “But it’s not BP’s land.” A CBS reporter told Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News that she had been turned away from a beach area by the Coast Guard who cited “BP’s rules.”