'This Is Censorship': Trump's War on Facts Continues With Muzzling of USGS Scientists
The Trump administration appears to be ramping up its war on science.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Interior Department, which overseas the U.S. Geological Survey, has told scientists there they must obtain approval from officials at the parent agency before responding to most media requests.
“This is censorship,” commented the March for Science.
Among the documents the Times cites is an April 25 email to employees from the DOI press secretary, which describes protocol as interviews by scientists demanding such approval in cases when there’s a request from a national outlet, or when the topic is “very controversial” or “likely to become a national story.”
A later email from a USGS official describes the press secretary as being the one authorized to give the thumbs or down to the media requests, and offered up a list of questions they could answer to facilitate that process, including “How will the scientist answer the questions? Be specific. Include links to published studies if available.”
“The new protocol also permits the Department of the Interior’s communications office to reject interview requests on scientific matters,” the Times adds.
Deputy press secretary for the Interior Department, Faith Vander Voort, brushed off the protocol as a change, framing the directive as merely a call to follow guidelines laid out in 2012.
But that assertion just doesn’t pass muster, argued Michael Halpern, the deputy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy.
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