ABC Reporter Hassled While Covering Oil Spill From Gulf Coast Beach

June 11th, 2010 12:51 PM

In today's "Silence of the Cams" segment, an ABC reporter was hassled Thursday for trying to cover the Gulf Coast oil spill from an Alabama beach.

According to an article published at, "Reporting is often about access, but journalists along the Gulf Coast covering the BP oil spill have had some trouble getting it."

The piece continued, "As BP faces more pressure from the government and from its own shareholders unhappy with the company's falling stock price, it seems to be clamping down on who can talk to reporters" (video follows with more quotes from the article and commentary):

Despite company statements that anyone on cleanup crews can share their views, ABC's Matt Gutman reports that's not necessarily the case. Today during a "World News" Conversation, he saw firsthand how a BP manager took pains to keep workers away from the press.

While preparing for a video chat on his laptop from a public beach in Alabama, Gutman was hassled by the manager of a nearby crew, asking Gutman why he was on the beach.

In reality, BP officials likely have learned how to avoid media access by watching the Obama administration handle the press since Inauguration Day.

In the end, there are consequences when journalists abdicate their responsibility to advance a political agenda.

Maybe if they wouldn't have assisted candidate Obama's rise to the White House and then basically reported anything his administration wanted in the opening months of his presidency they wouldn't be treated with such disregard by a British company.

On the other hand, one has to wonder whether or not the White House minds what BP is doing.

Think about it: if the Administration wanted greater press access to the beaches and the cleanup, it could just DEMAND BP allow it.

After all, these ARE American beaches -- or so I've been told.