The White House Thursday enacted stronger rules to prevent the media from showing what's happening with the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that evening, "The Coast Guard today announced new rules keeping photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches -- 65 feet."
He elaborated, "Now, in order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans. You have to call up the guy. What this means is that oil-soaked birds on islands surrounded by boom, you can't get close enough to take that picture."
As the segment continued, Cooper expressed disgust with this rule repeating several times, "We are not the enemy here" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Cubachi via Hot Air):
The Washington Post and BP may seem like the oddest couple since Felix and Oscar, but they've been spending a lot of time - and money - together.
A Business & Media Institute study found that the Washington Post earned up to $455,652 on 17 BP ads during the month of June, or about $15,188.40 per day. All 17 ads were a full page in size, nine appeared on the back page, six ran in color, and three ran on Sundays. In short, that's a fairly high-end ad campaign. However, companies typically receive discounts off of the open rate for large ad buys or for long-term contracts, so that final total may well be lower.
BMI analyzed all 30 issues of the Post in the month of June and calculated the rates using the Post's 2010 General Ad Rates Position Premiums. Based on the position premiums, a back page ad costs $28,954 daily ($31,456 on Sundays), ads on pages A2, A3, and A5 cost $208 daily ($216) per column inch, and other specified pages cost $103 daily ($110) per column inch. full page ad is 6 x 21 inches or 126 inches. BP back page ads totaled $260,586 and the Sunday ads, which appeared on pages A5 and A15 respectively, totaled $103,716, with color costs included in premium pricing.
Jon Stewart on Monday asked David Axelrod a truly extraordinary question: has this government proven itself competent enough to regulate industry?
Speaking to President Obama's senior advisor on "The Daily Show," the Comedy Central star was in the middle of a rather interesting discussion when he surprisingly said, "It's clear that this administration believes that government can have a stronger hand in regulating Wall Street, in regulating energy, in doing these things."
"But, has government during this time proved itself competent? And are our only two choices sort of an incompetent bureaucracy that doesn't quite regulate properly or free market anarchy?" he asked.
When Axelrod predictably tried to blame all the problems in the country on the previous administration's supposed lack of regulation and oversight, Stewart wasn't having any of it (video follows with transcript and commentary, relevant section at 1:50):
Robert Redford, one of the most popular and succesful actors of our age, has joined with other entertainers, including Sir Paul McCartney and Rosie O'Donnell in encouraging the Obama administration to actively politicize the Gulf crisis and use it to push through on energy policy.
In an interview with ExtraTV, Redford said that Obama should "Grab this moment in history and get a decent energy policy." He also said "Here's a moment in our history where he [Obama] should grab leadership and run with it."
He said that "We blew it in the late seventies," referring to laws like the National Energy Act, National Energy Conservation Policy Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act made in the wake of the OPEC embargo and the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster.
Karen Nelson of the Biloxi Sun Herald wrote a report picked up by McClatchy Newspapers about the incredible level of frustration felt by the people living along the Gulf of Mexico over the severe lack of skimmers available in that region to combat the BP oil spill. She went into detail explaining the anger felt by the Gulf residents over the fact that few skimmers are cleaning up the oil. However, one thing that seems to be mostly ignored, except in passing, is WHY so few skimmers are currently in the Gulf.
First the frustration felt over by the Gulf residents:
GULFPORT, Miss. — A morning flight over the Mississippi Sound showed long, wide ribbons of orange-colored oil for as far as the eye could see and acres of both heavy and light sheen moving into the Sound between the barrier islands. What was missing was any sign of skimming operations from Horn Island to Pass Christian.
CNN's Carol Costello and Jim Acosta revealed their disdain for a federal judge's decision to overturn the Obama administration's 6-month moratorium on offshore drilling when the expert they interviewed on the June 25 "American Morning" made a convincing case against the moratorium.
Tom Bower, an author who has written extensively on the oil industry, tried to explain the devastating economic impact the moratorium would inflict on an already beleaguered industry, but Costello and Acosta were blinded by ideology: "But isn't safety more important than money?" queried Costello. "Because, I mean, these oil companies make massive amounts of money each day."
Bower, author of "Oil, Money, Politics and Power in the 21st Century," drew the ire of Costello and Acosta for calling the Gulf oil spill an "aberration" and noting the oil industry's "phenomenal" overall safety record.
"But that's what they say, it is just an aberration, but the BP disaster happened," argued Costello. "Nobody thought that could happen either. So, it's just not logical, is it, that argument?"
Seems the only thing gushing more than the BP oil spill these days is the disaster brewing in Paul McCartney's mouth. In an exclusive interview with The Sun, McCartney takes a major swipe at global warming realists, er, deniers, by stating (emphasis mine):
"Sadly we need disasters like this to show people. Some people don't believe in climate warming - like those who don't believe there was a Holocaust."
Well that's putting things in perspective. I'm not sure global warming has been proven to have caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Missed that report. Regardless, it remains unclear how the theory of global warming is in any way similar to the reality of the Holocaust.
McCartney goes on to defend President Obama from any and all criticism concerning the Gulf disaster, culminating with the revelation that he "really love(s) him."
The ramifications of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have not even begun to surface. We will be dealing with the ecological damage for years as the prime nesting grounds for shrimp, oysters and countless other varieties of sea life are destroyed by the leak at the bottom of the ocean that nobody seems to be able to deal with.
The economic damage is another entirely different animal that is going to rock the Gulf Coast and head inland with reverberations that will be seriously felt around the whole country.
The Obama administration is completely lost on how to deal with the spill and the president seems helpless except to appoint commissions and place blame anywhere except 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I know that an oil leak at this depth has never had to be dealt with before and is a seriously difficult thing to fix, but somewhere on this earth, somebody knows how to fix it and it's high time to find him or her.
On the June 24 "American Morning," CNN's Carol Costello trumpeted a "revitalized" environmental movement that is hoping the Gulf oil spill will "change the way we feel about oil" and is aggressively lobbying Congress to pass radical climate change legislation.
Previewing the "Gut Check" segment, Costello gleefully teased, "Coming up next, environmentalists are revitalized and it's over the Gulf oil spill. Could this disaster be what we need in this country to change the way we feel about oil?"
In lockstep with the Left's environmental agenda, the fill-in anchor pondered whether the Gulf oil spill would crystallize support for a climate bill or would "it be back to business as usual?" Costello articulated the same phrase environmental groups frequently employ to manufacture a false sense of urgency around their liberal initiatives.
Interviewing David Rauschkolb, founder of Hands Across the Sand, a liberal group opposed to offshore drilling, Costello praised the forerunner to Rauschkolb's new group – Earth Day – for "strengthening the Clean Air Act and helping President Nixon create the Environmental Protection Agency." Costello did not reach out to conservative critics who argue that draconian environmental regulations stymie economic growth and breed unemployment.
As Interior Secretary Ken Salazar prepares a new moratorium on offshore oil drilling after the last one was shot down by a federal judge Wednesday, lost on the media seems to be Salazar's dishonesty in promoting the policy thus far. Very few have reported that he misrepresented the position of a team of experts designed to look into the costs and benefits of the moratorium.
In reality, the seven-member panel, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, said Salazar's proposed moratorium would be "punishing the innocent." The policy "will not measurably reduce risk further," the panel explained, "and it will have a lasting impact on the nation's economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill."
Despite the panel's clear opposition to the policy, Salazar implied that they supported the moratorium. Salazar was forced to apologize after the panel publicly rebuked the Secretary's implications. "The Secretary should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct," said one member of the panel, "but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions."
Another leg tingle is on the way for MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. Wednesday on "Andrea Mitchell Reports," Chris Matthews asserted that the President's image had been tainted because "BP has been the front institution, not the United States government, in this whole horror down in the gulf."
Yet, the White House no longer needs to worry, because to Matthews, the releasing of General McChrystal benefits the President's image of handling the oil spill by creating a "chance for him and somewhat in a way or somewhat in a personnel manner to insist on his role as Commander in Chief."
When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans in 2005, numerous media members blamed racism for President Bush's supposedly poor response to the disaster.
According to LexisNexis, there were almost 1,000 reports in the nine weeks following the storm's passage through the Gulf of Mexico that tied racism to the government's post-hurricane strategy.
Five years later, as oil slams the same region and polls show the public actually more unhappy with the response to this crisis than they were after Katrina hit, no such nefarious connection is being espoused.
Consider the media firestorm the following remark by rapper Kanye West set off just a few days after the hurricane hit New Orleans (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Editor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Appearing on CNN with Anderson Cooper, film director Spike Lee implored President Obama to infuse his handling of the Gulf oil spill with more emotion. Demonstrating the astute analysis we have come to expect from the director, Lee implored Obama to “one time, go off.”
Perhaps he is of the same mind as Bill Maher, that the authentic black man is one who is always armed and resorts to violence and loud-talking when things do not go his way. (Note to self: On the way home from the liquor store, I must pick up my Glock from the gun shop.)
Both Lee and Maher seem to share the opinion of a great many progressives that emotion is the same as leadership and that problems are most easily solved by decree. It is no mistake that following criticism by Lee and others, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was declaring to the media that he had “seen rage from him [President Obama].” Apparently, when Obama gets angry, he clinches his jaw.
A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
The White House says President Barack Obama's administration will appeal.
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium.
This later paragraph from AP's breaking news report explains why I believe Ken Salazar's dissenting experts from the National Academy of Engineering may have influenced the judge's outlook on the case:
Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
Feldman's take seems to mirror the language of the dissenting experts.
CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos has a penchant for quirky, off-beat reporting, but what happens when the eccentric newswoman gives a more accurate picture of important events than the serious journalists?
While media outlets relentlessly denounced BP CEO Tony Hayward for taking Saturday off to participate in a yacht race, they mostly glossed over or completely ignored President Barack Obama's Saturday golf outing with Vice President Joe Biden.
It was left to CNN's resident humorist to connect the dots.
"It's the yachting versus golf smack down, round one," declared Moos. "BP's CEO gets pummeled for taking a day off to watch his yacht race...CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller says already President Obama has played 39 rounds of golf, compared to the 24 George Bush played his entire presidency."
The BP oil spill - millions of gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, coastal businesses from Houston to Tampa shuttered, the potential for higher energy costs across the country and untold ecological damage. But according to Mother Jones magazine's David Corn, there is a silver-lining in all of this - that is, if you're a Democrat.
MSNBC's June 21 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" deviated from its usual efforts to blame the previous administration for the oil spill and instead gave thanks that the spill led to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
"I think it's every single Democrat in America - they're saying, ‘Joe Barton, you go for it,'" Corn said. "You keep that ranking member position. Don't - you know, stick to your guns. I mean, after all, I mean, you made this point, I've written about this, others have made this point - It wasn't a gaffe. Joe Barton said what he believed."
Usually when you see something on the Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog, you ignore it (or at best take it with a grain of salt) because you know its fundamental objective is to score some inane point against conservatives or the Republican Party.
Managing Editor's Note: I saw this earlier today on RedState and asked the artist for permission to republish here. You can check out more of Toby Dials's work at TobyToons.com and follow him on Twitter here.
A Friday report by reporters Matthew Lee and Eileen Sullivan indicates that there is a serious shortage of critical thinking skills over at the Associated Press, or a serious desire to run interference for the Obama administration no matter how ignorant doing so makes the wire service's reporters appear.
Lee and Sullivan try to excuse the State Department's inaction on the vast majority of roughly 60 specific offers of assistance from over twenty nations, many of which go back to late April and early May (detailed in a 4-page State Dept. PDF here), because almost all of the offers are being made with an expectation that the costs of such assistance will be reimbursed. By my count:
15 of those assistance offers involve the provision of "containment boom" to protect beaches, shoreline, and other sensitive areas.
Roughly 10 of those 15 containment boom offers are over a month old, and a few were made on or before April 30, over fifty days ago.
Out of all 60 offers made involving all forms of goods and services, roughly a half-dozen have been accepted.
The reason Lee and Sullivan cast these offers as proof of a "double standard" is -- wait for it -- because the U.S. doesn't get reimbursed when it provides aid in natural disasters like earthquakes, and because many of the countries involved, several of which are dirt poor, receive American foreign aid.
The presidential commission tasked with investigating the BP oil spill is so short on technical expertise and packed with left-leaning politicians and knee-jerk environmentalists that even the Associated Press's resident ClimateGate apologist Seth Borenstein is concerned.
On December 12, 2009, over two weeks after the ClimateGate e-mails first appeared, Borenstein wrote that "the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions." What part of Kevin Trenberth's famous October 12, 2009 assertion that "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t" did Seth not understand?
Nonetheless, non-skeptical Seth is somewhat taken aback at the lack of expertise in the spill commission's membership:
Obama spill panel big on policy, not engineering
The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about "America's addiction to oil." One member has blogged about it regularly.
Imagine waking from a years-long coma this past Wednesday evening, with a television in the room tuned to MSNBC. You slowly open your eyes and see ... President Rachel Maddow speaking from the Oval Office.
Whereupon you lapse back into a coma.
Actually, it was "Fake President" Maddow, as she called herself, delivering a mock speech on the BP spill she wished Obama had given the night before.
Among the things Maddow said she'd do, this one jumped out --
MADDOW: I've asked the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to assist me in the diplomatic side of this, in soliciting, green lighting and expediting all international offers of help, from experts in booming and skimming all over the world. We will bring in the best experts and the best equipment from anywhere on earth to dramatically increase our efforts to get the oil out of the water and off the coast.
" ... in soliciting, green lighting and expediting all international offers of help ..." -- as if offers of help from abroad had not already been extended, which they have, followed by the Obama administration inexplicably rejecting them.
President Obama met with a group of prominent liberal commentators on Thursday to discuss the Gulf oil spill and the administration's response. The meeting came in the midst of a rare firestorm of criticism from the left over the president's response to the spill.
It was surely not coincidence that the journalists seen leaving the White House that afternoon--the New York Times's Gail Collins, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and the Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib--were some of the more prominent critics of the president's Oval Office address on Tuesday.
The meeting demonstrates two facts: the White House is trying furiously to spin media coverage of the federal response to the spill in the administration's favor, and the old White House double standard towards the news media persists.
The media reaction to the Obama administration's handling of the BP Gulf oil spill crisis has been a mixed bag. But it hasn't been good.
Some are arguing President Barack Obama has gone too far and overstepped his legal authority and some are arguing he hasn't gone far enough with the "boot on the throat" mentality. And on his June 17 Fox News Channel program, Glenn Beck played three separate examples of these differences you normally wouldn't associate with one another - CNBC's Matt Nesto, liberal flame-thrower and comedian Rosie O'Donnell and MSNBC's Ed Schultz.
"Even the people at NBC are noticing maybe something is not right," Beck said.
If you take MSNBC's Luke Russert's words at face value, you would think the Democrats are going to win big this November–all thanks to Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Texas) comments on the Obama administration's treatment of BP, and their "shakedown" of the company via the escrow fund.
"A lot of Democrats see this as the ammunition they need to directly tie the Republican Party with that of big oil," Russert summarized.
Barton expressed his disapproval at the hearing for the White House's treatment of BP in forcing them to agree to the $20 billion escrow fund, calling it a "shakedown." MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer was visibly irritated during her news hour with the statement, and Russert called it a "really big blunder."
However, as NewsBusters reported, MSNBC's own Ed Schultz was ecstatic yesterday over the very actions of the White House, and spoke positively of the "shakedown."
In a satellite interview with Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) held shortly before 1 p.m. EDT today, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer criticized Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for denouncing the president for pushing BP to agree to a $20-billion escrow account for oil spill damages as a "shakedown":
So, there's Joe Barton calling the $20 billion in escrow a shakedown, and as you point out, there are people in your district who have lost their livelihoods! They wonder how they can feed their families!
But yesterday, Brewer's MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz used similar language to voice his giddy approval of President Obama's maneuvering [video embedded at right and available as WMV file here]:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan on June 17 joined forces to lambaste "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough for continuing to defend President Barack Obama's handling of the BP oil spill.
Scarborough presented a litany of arguments in Obama's defense, but Giuliani and Ratigan countered with specific examples of the president's failed leadership. Regurgitating liberal talking points, Scarborough blamed the crisis on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
"We hear that we had the technology to stop this," Scarborough claimed. "In 2002, though, Dick Cheney and his energy task force said, 'No, we're not going to take an extra step.'"
Giuliani responded with an eviscerating counter punch: "It's important to know as part of the history of this but the reality is, he's been president now for 18 months. It's about time we stopped blaming Bush."
There are lies, damned lies and statistics, so the saying goes. Add Rachel Maddow's lies of omission to the list.
Maddow is doing her best to shield MSNBC viewers from awkward facts about political support for offshore drilling. Here's how she began her show on Monday, with an announcement from July 2008 by then-President George W. Bush --
BUSH: For years my administration has been calling on Congress to expand domestic oil production. Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal. ... One of the most important steps we can take to expand American oil production is to increase access to offshore exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf, or what's called the OCS. ... Today I've issued a memorandum to lift the executive prohibition on oil exploration in the OCS.
MADDOW: That was President George W. Bush in July 2008 lifting the presidential ban on offshore oil drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf. It was a presidential ban that had been first put in place by President Bush's dad in 1990 after the big Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. Here was why Bush the second said he was lifting the drilling ban of Bush the first --
BUSH: New advances in technology have made it possible to conduct oil exploration in the OCS that is out of sight, protects coral reefs and habitats, and protects against oil spills.
There has been a lot of criticism hurled at President Obama over his handling of the BP oil spill. Some on the left are upset the president hasn't been more forceful with the oil giant. Those on the right generally argue Obama's leadership has been inadequate.
Rarely has the president been criticized for specific actions on this issue. But on "Closing Bell" June 16, CNBC's Matt Nesto was asked whether BP acted appropriately by agreeing to the White House's terms by cutting its dividend payments and agreeing to a $20 billion escrow account.
Nesto argued that the administration was circumventing the legal system with such acts.
Despite widespread criticism of President Barack Obama's Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill–including flak from MSNBC's left-wing posse of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Howard Fineman–ABC's Terry Moran and George Stephanopoulos on the June 15 "Nightline" fawned over the president's speech and ignored its obvious shortcomings.
In recapping the address, Moran could not contain his adulation for Obama's ability to assert his presidential authority and inspire the nation:
"For the first time in the Oval Office, President Obama addressed the nation. A nation anxious and doubtful about his leadership on the environmental catastrophe that's unfolded in the Gulf for 57 days. So, the main goal tonight, show the country he's truly in charge."
"President Obama, who finished a two-day trip to the Gulf Coast this afternoon, clearly wanted to project power in his handling with the oil spill, and the most direct way to do that is to use the language of war of the commander-in-chief."
"As the cleanup efforts continue to grapple with the giant spill, residents all along the coast have grown more and more worried, more and more angry and the president spoke to that directly tonight, and he made a promise."
"At the end, like so many in the Oval Office before him, President Obama asked for prayers."
Plenty of prominent media figures were upset with President Obama over his substandard address to the nation last night (full text). While most are distraught, none seem to be doing what should be the essential journalistic task of the day: pointing out all of the factual misstatements the president made.
So, in absence of a serious attempt at fact-checking from the legacy media, let us undertake some of our own.
In all, the president misrepresented the federal government's--and especially his cabinet's--role in creating the conditions that led to the spill, the state of the nation's oil reserves, and his own administration's involvement with BP. Futhermore, his transition from discussing the Gulf spill to advocating "clean energy" legislation was a huge logical leap, and one that necessarily misrepresents the problems the nation faces with regard to energy.