UPDATE - 7/13, 1:30 pm: In the face of criticism, the Coast Guard just rescinded this policy, allowing reporters free access to Gulf spill recovery efforts. Details below.
Effectively reporting on the Gulf oil spill is now a Class D felony, punishable by a fine of up to $40,000.
That's right, the most transparent administration in history has made it a felony, effective July 1, to get within 65 feet of what the Coast Guard determines are essential recovery efforts. According to Anderson Cooper, officials tried to up that number to 300 feet.
Cooper, who claimed federal officials prevented CNN on two occasions from taking photographs in the gulf, seemed frustrated when he reported on the new laws the day they went into effect. The press is "not the enemy here" he pleaded. The new policies, he said, make it "very easy to hide failure, and hide incompetence."
Cooper also let loose this zinger: "Transparency is apparently not a priority with [Coast Guard Commandant] Thad Allen these days." Ouch (full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Ron Robinson).
Perhaps it is frustration, as expressed by Anderson Cooper, with the new White House rules inhibiting reports about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that is now causing a big crack in the Mainstream Media wall which until recently mostly avoided direct criticism of the Obama administration response. However that crack has now turned into a flood of surprising criticism coming from formerly friendly outlets such as the Associated Press. Read this amazing AP report and keep in mind that it is no longer just conservative sources that are harsh in their criticisms of the Obama Gulf oil containment efforts:
NEW ORLEANS — BP and the Obama administration face mounting complaints that they are ignoring foreign offers of equipment and making little use of the fishing boats and volunteers available to help clean up what may now be the biggest spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Coast Guard said there have been 107 offers of help from 44 nations, ranging from technical advice to skimmer boats and booms. But many of those offers are weeks old, and only a small number have been accepted. The vast majority are still under review, according to a list kept by the State Department.