While BP has denied that it is blocking the media from reporting on the Gulf oil spill, numerous press reports indicate otherwise. Today, while preparing for a Skype chat on his laptop at a public beach in Alabama, ABC News reporter Matt Gutman “was hassled by the manager of a nearby crew, asking Gutman why he was on the beach.” Gutman captured the interaction on video, and said “several people” had asked him “not to talk to any of the workers here”:
BP has said that “anyone on cleanup crews can share their views,” but Gutman and other reporters have found that field managers often prevent workers from doing so. As ThinkProgress noted, BP initially forced workers to sign a contract that explicitly barred them from talking to the media. Though that clause of the contract appears to have been removed due to a lawsuit, workers are clearly still paranoid about talking to the press. One contractor who broke the silence surreptitiously escorted a New York Daily News crew around some of the affected sites, saying he was frustrated with what he deemed the “coverup.” “They specifically informed us that they don’t want these pictures of the dead animals,” he said.