Dear FEMA, meet the Constitution
That was about all I could say when I read this story (pointed to by a periodic SPJ newsletter) out of the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Reporters were wondering why the much-vaunted FEMA trailer parks were mostly empty. They went to talk with residents. Security guards told them they had to leave -- and in one case called the cops. An excerpt:
[FEMA spokeswoman Rachel] Rodi wouldn’t say whether the actions of the security guards in Morgan City and Davant complied with FEMA policy, saying the matter was being reviewed. But she confirmed that FEMA does not allow the media to speak alone to residents in their trailers.Is FEMA also checking out their kids' dates, and whether they're ... well, you know what I mean.
“If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” Rodi said. “That’s just a policy.”
I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist or libertarian, but I just got a little bit closer.
(My wife just asked: "Do they have to wear a little yellow star, too?" I just love it when she gets po'd.)
Update 7/27: SPJ now says FEMA has changed its policy and is granting media access.