Obama, you fail!July 14, 2010
As part of my ongoing vacillation back and forth re: the Obama presidency, this one came from Pharyngula. Evidently, CNN has reported a ban on filming the results of the BP oil spill in the Gulf, and that this ban is being backed by our government.
Another interested blogger PZ linked has compiled a series of photographs of the damage, mostly oiled/dead wildlife shots, on the off chance that the gov’t takes the next step and reclassifies them as top secret. As I voice my general disgust of this corporatist apologetic and coverup, I see no reason not to mirror PZ’s response and link to it.
To be fair, I took a day and watched the videos and slept on it before opening rhetorical fire on Obama. The counter-arguments about safety, security, and being able to take pictures with zoom lenses are technically valid. But the selective nature of this ban, knowing there are other spills with no such ban, makes it seem more like an effort to avoid publicity. This one, for example, you may not have even heard of; it came and went quickly. Here’s another, a slow leak that has been ongoing for 6 years now.
As for telephoto lenses, try using those to film cleanup workers or oil-mired animals inside buildings. Try finding oiled birds on shorelines with a pair of binoculars. Clearly, the reduced field of vision will make it harder, make it take longer. Some of this is outright banning some documentation; and some is intended to make journalists’ lives more difficult. And they’re not interested in making things worse for the cleanup effort. But instead of the gov’t giving journalists a reason to back off, now the journalists have to fight for the right to move in.
As for the troll at Pharyngula complaining that Americans only care about this disaster because it affects us, it’s not about who walks to work or recycles the most. It’s about BP’s corner-cutting on inspection and safety; it’s the preventable nature of this disaster that makes BP’s behavior reprehensible. There are consequences for using fossil fuels. Some disasters may be inevitable. This wasn’t one of them. This one is the result of greed.
I have my doubts that the administration would try to reclassify these photos that are already out there, since these have been available for long enough as it is, but then I didn’t think they would help BP to ban filming the disaster in the first place.