Mysterious video part of government study
Workers paid to show residents video but we can't see it
FORT MYERS - The mystery surrounding a government sponsored video intensifies tonight. Last week we showed you how people are being paid to go door to door to show you a 75 minute long video but for some reason we're not allowed to show it to you. Now Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason is getting answers for you.
That video has something to do with this research firm in Fort Myers. Since the U.S. government won't tell us much about it we're doing our best to piece together this puzzling situation.
Last Monday I saw this woman - Victoria Metz - knocking on doors in Fort Myers asking people if they'd watch a video sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, so I took her up on her offer.
Mike Mason: "So this is funded by the U.S. government right?"
Victoria Metz: "Yes."
Mike Mason: "So you're going door to door to show people this video and you're not telling them anything about it afterwards?"
Victoria Metz: "Absolutely not."
At the last minute, Victoria called her boss to make sure it was okay to show the video to a reporter. Her boss said no and she took off.
Mike Mason: "Even as a citizen I can't watch that video now?”
Victoria Metz: "No, sorry. We'll have somebody contact you from the department."
Neighbors say they were told the video had something to do with an oil spill and offshore drilling. When we contacted the Department of Commerce to get more information, they said they'd get back to us. So we did our own digging and found Victoria's boss works for a research firm called ABT SRBI. She told us the government hired SRBI to conduct a study but that's all she could say. We found an SRBI call center in Fort Myers and went there to get some answers.
Worker: "This is Bob Vojinivic."
Mike Mason: "Hey, how are you?"
One of the officials there said he couldn't tell us much about the video.
Mike Mason: "But you understand why we're asking all these questions?"
Bob Vojinovic: "I guess, I don't know."
Mike Mason: "It just seems like a secret video or something."
Bob Vojinovic: "I don't know."
Today we learned from the Commerce Department that it is sponsoring a study related to natural resources and that a survey is being given by contractors, in person, to 5,000 households across the United States in locations that have been scientifically selected.
And that's all they can tell us, something that may raise more questions than answers.
Mike Mason: "Because our viewers are wondering what is going on."
Bob Vojinovic: "With what?"
Mike Mason: "With this video we can't even see anymore."
Bob Vojinovic: "Okay."
So why is this video such a big secret? We figured since workers are going door to door we'd think they'd want to clear this up but they maintain they're not allowed to say anything about it.