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Military Space

Wallops PAO Is Giving Media Exclusives To Classified Launch Pads

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
June 11, 2021

Keith’s note: Really? NASA Wallops PAO is giving “exclusive on-pad access” to a launch pad with a classified mission sitting on it and only one media outlet gets this “exclusive on-pad access”? And they are bragging about it? And that’s OK with NASA PAO? The last time I asked NASA HQ PAO about this they told me emphatically that they do not give “exclusives”. WTKR News 3 is not exactly a nationally distributed news channel. Once again Wallops PAO is playing favorites with their local pals.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.

8 responses to “Wallops PAO Is Giving Media Exclusives To Classified Launch Pads”

  1. Sam S says:
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    Sorry if I’m not informed about the rules surrounding media access, I don’t work in or immediately with any government entities:

    Is it possible that by “exclusive,” this local news station just means that they were the only ones that showed up, or that they just asked MARS directly if it was cool to come do a news story and management said yes?

    Do the regulations say that if you’re going to let any media in, you have to make an announcement so that all media (or at least as many as can fit in the physical space) can come in as well? Or is it within the facility management’s authority to say “sure, you can come on down” in response to a request from a media outlet, without having to open it up to all comers?

    Edit: It appears that the National Reconnaissance Office had their first ever media day in relation to this launch, so maybe they were the ones deciding who to let on the pad?

    • kcowing says:
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      NASA HQ PAO told me – this time – and many times in the pas t- that they simply do not grant media “exclusives” – of any kind.

  2. rktsci says:
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    In TV-speak, “exclusive” means that they were the only ones with TV cameras turned on at the time.

    You will see TV (and print) outlets touting an “exclusive” interview with a star of an upcoming movie. The way this works is that the star is sitting in an interview room, often at a hotel, and there are a line of reporters waiting for their “exclusive” 10-15 minutes with the star before they are hustled out and the next reporter is brought in. Contrast with a press conference.

    It’s meaningless.

    • kcowing says:
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      Um, just remember I’m the media guy who is on TV all the time – not you. They were told by NASA to stop saying “exclusive” since they were not granted an “exclusive” since NASA does not offer exclusives when it comes to access to NASA facilities. There were other news media there. Next.

      • rktsci says:
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        Um. OK. Fine. I’m the one who has family working in TV production, one of whom has an Emmy.

        • kcowing says:
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          Yea people who use fake names well … I never hear of anyone with the name “rksci” doing TV. Did your family call NASA PAO and ask them about this situation?

          • rktsci says:
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            No. But NASA can’t tell a press organization what to say. There is this little thing called the first amendment to the US Constitution.

          • kcowing says:
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            They set the rules for access and call them media out for misrepresentation in describing the terms of tier access to government facilities. If you are the media expert you claim to be then you would know this – whoever you are.