Political interference in emergency management is not new. Social media will only exacerbate the situation as more public pressure on Twitter and Facebook will push some elected officials to meddle in operational issues and information dissemination.
While Slowing BP Oil Spill, Administration Slowed Flow Of Information Too, Claims Coast Guard Report
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration failed to set up an "effective" communications system during last year's BP oil spill and threatened its own credibility by "severely restricting" the release of "timely, accurate information," according to a newly released report commissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Quietly posted on the Coast Guard's website two weeks ago, the report offers the first major assessment of the federal government's communications efforts during the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
"Several layers of review and approval by the White House and (Department of Homeland Security) prevented timely and effective crisis communications and hindered the Coast Guard's ability to ... (keep) stakeholders informed about the status of the response," the report reads, adding that "accurate and timely messaging from the response organization improves transparency with the public."
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Information centers in Houma, La., and Mobile, Ala. -- established by the Coast Guard in accordance with pre-set plans for major disasters -- were "effectively muted," the report reads.