ABC News' barge-grounding story sucking wind


This morning, we noted ABC World News' apparently faulty reporting on how Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is lambasting the federal government for ordering 16 barges to stop vacuuming crude oil off his state's coast. As we wrote, the report ABC aired on the June 17 edition of World News left viewers with the impression that the clueless Coast Guard had ordered the barges temporarily grounded for no reason at all, giving weight to Jindal's assertions and reinforcing claims that the federal government has been botching this operation from Day 1. In its online report, however, included this little nugget:

[T]he Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

Conservatives, meanwhile, trumpeted the decision as one more example of the government's "incompetence."

Today, the Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong further reported:

Sixteen crude-sucking barges are back in the Gulf of Mexico working to clean up oil, but the Coast Guard is defending its decision to ground the vessels because it couldn't verify whether there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board.

"The Coast Guard is not going to compromise safety ... that's our No. 1 priority," Coast Guard spokesman Robert Brassel told The Daily Caller.


Brassel said the barges are now "back in operating order."

On Thursday night, the Incident Commander in Houma, Roger Laferriere, decided with the captain of the port in New Orleans to inspect the barges when they realized the ships did not have a certificate of inspection to demonstrate safety equipment on board. Thursday morning, the ships were inspected and grounded because they did not have the proper fire-fighting and life-saving equipment. There were also concerns about the stability of the barges. During the day Thursday, the problems were fixed, and the barges are back out on the water today.

So let me see if I've got this straight: The Coast Guard says that while they were just as concerned with the urgency of the situation as any entity out there on the water, they didn't want to take a gamble on workers' safety and demanded that proper procedures be taken to ensure against the very real possibility of another Gulf catastrophe -- barges catching on fire.

But thanks to ABC's apparently flawed reporting, conservatives are outraged that this is just another show of red tape from the government.

Heckuva job, ABC.

World News with Diane Sawyer
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