Science and reason are up for one hell of a fight under the Trump administration. We now live in the Orwellian world of “alternative facts”, which are like facts, but bullshit. It’s surely only a matter of time before the Ministry of Truth is set up.
Right off the bat, controversial oil pipelines have been resurrected on the very same day Trump claimed to the automobile industry that he’s an “environmentalist.” References to climate change have been eradicated from the White House website, with orders for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow suit. Clean power plans have been scuttled, various scientific agencies are having their Twitter accounts censured, and scientific funding is being bled dry.
Now, as internal memos published by BuzzFeed have revealed, federal scientists were also briefly muzzled from speaking about their work with the press.
The EPA, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation and the National Park Service – all of which contain thousands upon thousands of taxpayer-funded scientists – were told a few days ago to cease and desist any form of communication with the public and the media when it came to their research.
Although still allowed to publish in scientific journals, any reference to their work in any other form would have been banned. News releases, photographs, infographics, fact sheets, and any social media content on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere would be prohibited in any form, according to the memos.
They did not explicitly reference President Trump or his new administration, but this is the only authority such a widespread gagging order could have originated from. However, at the time of writing, the administrator of the scientific wing of the USDA rescinded this muzzling order.
There’s no update as of yet on whether or not the other federal agencies have decided to fight back against this information suppression.