That radical right wing network PBS is complaining that the government is blocking their access to reporting on the Gulf Oil disaster.
But there’s one roadblock that we encountered that mystified us — and, we understand, many other journalists. It has been virtually impossible to get any information about the federal mobile medical unit in the fishing town of Venice, La. The glorified double-wide trailer sits on a spit of newly graveled land known to some as the “BP compound.” Ringed with barbed wire-topped chain link fencing, it’s tightly restricted by police and private security guards.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up the facility on May 31. According to a press release, the medical unit is staffed by “a medical team from the HHS National Disaster Medical System — a doctor, two nurses, two emergency medical technician paramedics (EMT-P) and a pharmacist.”
For over two weeks, my NewsHour colleagues and I reached out to media contacts at HHS, the U.S. Coast Guard and everyone listed as a possible media contact for BP, in an attempt to visit the unit and get a general sense of how many people were being treated there , who they were and what illnesses they had. We got nowhere. It was either “access denied,” or no response at all. It was something that none of us had ever encountered while covering a disaster. We’re usually at some point provided access to the health services being offered by the federal government.
Meanwhile, check this out.
And if you want to help with the clean up, tough! According to that other radical right wing network NPR, clean up jobs are hard to find.
cole Route figured the one benefit of having an oil spill in her backyard would be that at least she might get a job helping clean it up. Instead, she said she’s gotten a runaround from BP and the Louisiana Workforce Commission, a statewide agency trying to place people in jobs.
“When you talk to BP representatives, what they tell you is, they [are] working directly with the workforce,” she said. “And then when you go to the workforce, the workforce doesn’t have an idea of what’s going on or what BP is talking about.”
And that is what landed her at a town hall meeting intended to help residents of St. Bernard Parish find out more about jobs, cleanup efforts and filing claims for lost income. BP had a table here and so did the Workforce Commission. But she wasn’t getting answers to her questions.
“It’s like it’s a secret,” Route said.
There’s even talk that they are blocking some elected officials from surveying the damage, on a strictly partisan basis.
Yes, Obama and the feds are doing such a great job. Don’t you just love how efficient and on top of things big government is? Remember again, elections matter.