out of sight, out of mind
Like many media outlets, we are often guilty of apathy when a story seems to run on with no real change in circumstances, as has happened lately with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Certainly the disaster has oozed through a few news cycles now, but with the devastation increasing, why are so few images making their way to our desks? We still remember the wildlife images and the fervor with which the public showed their anger to Exxon after the Valdez did her damage, and the boycott that brought Exxon to its knees. So what has changed?
One main factor is BP’s inexplicable death grip on media access to public water and airways (aided by the FAA and USCG) and their cash-fueled control of the knowledgeable locals who could shed light on what is happening in the slimy Gulf. While there are a few good examples of investigative journalists getting close enough to report from affected areas (see this one from Mother Jones a few weeks ago), remarkably few reports are making it to press, in part due to an unconscionable US Coast Guard regulation that restricts all citizens from coming closer than 65 feet from any oil boom, and of course to the marshland beyond where all the dead and dying animals live. The CG’s justification is, of course "safety and security." What a load of shit.
Meanwhile, BP continues to spread dispersants at levels that exceed directives handed down to it by an obviously impotent government; dispersants whose toxicity is unknown but whose effects may last far longer than the oil spill itself. Multiple manmade fires send thick plumes of black smoke into the sky and useable skimming ships lay idle in nearby ports, while fish, marine mammals, birds, and the coastline itself in some cases simply dies off, while BP counts on their own paid-for political control of the media and the public’s short attention span to get away, literally, with murder.
Well, we won’t forget, and we urge you to get involved in some way, whether by pestering your congressional representatives or something more anarchistic.