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Oil FAIL: Press censorship continues, despite sternly worded letter from Thad Allen. I'm shocked.


Journalists covering the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have been yelled at, kicked off public beaches and islands and threatened with arrest in the nearly three weeks since the government promised improved media access.

Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's point person for the response, issued a May 31 directive to BP PLC and federal officials ensuring media access to key sites along the coast. BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles followed up with a letter to news organizations, saying the company "fully supports and defends all individuals' rights to share their personal thoughts and experiences with journalists if they so choose."

Those efforts have done little to curtail the obstacles, harassment and intimidation tactics journalists are facing by federal officials and local police, as well as BP employees and contractors, while covering the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history.

Plenty of examples at the full story.

It's like we're living in some kind of banana Republic.

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Submitted by gob on

Stendhal's Machiavellian comte Mosca describes his P.R. efforts after the rabble have been put down in Parma (my crummy translation):

We've suppressed everything that happened here. If you read our newspaper, you'll see that a prison official, one Barbone, happened to die in an overturned carriage. As for the sixty or so ruffians shot to death by our troops while attacking the statue of the prince in the royal gardens, they are all in very good health, only they are traveling. The Minister of the Interior personally visited the family of each of these unfortunate heroes and, along with a tidy sum of money, delivered the order to say the deceased is away on a trip, and threatened them with prison if they gave it out that he had been killed. My ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent an agent to the journalists of Milan and Turin, to make sure no one speaks of the unfortunate event (that's our official term); this agent is ordered to proceed as far as Paris and London, in order to deny in all the newspapers, virtually officially, anything that might be said about our troubles.

Written in the 1830s, but really, the ways of tyrants haven't changed for milllenia apart from the details.