BP Takes Page From The Pentagon’s Playbook, Denies Access To The Press

According to Newsweek, BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and locals now employed in the Deepwater Horizon cleanup effort are working hard to keep the press, especially photojournalists, away from the spill.

More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging from reporters, photographers, and TV crews in which BP and Coast Guard officials explicitly target members of the media, restricting and denying them access to oil-covered beaches, staging areas for clean-up efforts, and even flyovers.
“It’s a running joke among the journalists covering the story that the words ‘Coast Guard’ affixed to any vehicle, vessel, or plane should be prefixed with ‘BP,’ ” says Charlie Varley, a Louisiana-based photographer. “It would be funny if it were not so serious.”

This is outrageous and unacceptable behavior on BP’s part. And it’s one more black eye for the PR hacks busy advising the brand during this crisis. Their job, of course, is to maintain shareholder value. The question is how best to do that. Sadly, BP’s defensive posturing is the wrong answer for the brand and for everyone else.
BP execs want to believe they can hide, but there’s no hiding an oil spill of this magnitude. The truth is surfacing along with all the dead turtles, dolphins, fish, shrimp and every other creature unable to escape the toxic mess–which could have been prevented, were it not for corners cut and precious pennies saved.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Actually, it’s the U.S. Military preventing the media from reporting on Public Lands, under orders from a multinational corporation.
    Draw your own conclusions.

  2. It really is worrying me what is happening in the gulf at the moment. The oil could continue to leak for another couple of years if attempts to stop the leak continue to be unsuccessful Clearly we cant do with out oil as things stand at the moment, we are just too dependent for so many parts of our lives. Its easy to blame BP but accidents happen, just as cars crash and aeroplanes fall from the skys. Just like all other areas which involve human falacy mistakes happen, they are almost inevitable. The problem with deep water drilling is that the consequences are so high.

  3. What is happening in the gulf at the moment is a really big concern. I was reading in todays papers that if left unchecked the leak in the gulf could continue for another 2 years! I know we need oil for fertilisers, fuels plastics etc but i worry that we will see more and more disasters in the future like this one. Its easy to blame BP but accidents happen, just as cars crash and aeroplanes fall from the skys. Accidents are inevitable at some point with deep water drilling, the only problem is the consequesnces are so high when you consider how much oil can potentially leak.

  4. I can’t believe how shadyBP has been with this situation. They needed to be more honest with the public about what happened and how difficult it was going to be to repair the pipe. Im very overjoyed that the leak has been stopped.