Gag orders on scientists set stage for more “alternative facts”

Gag Orders on Scientists Set Stage for More “Alternative Facts”

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

A flurry of news articles today report that scientists and other officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services have been ordered in varying ways not to speak to the press, Members of Congress, and the public about what they do and what their research has found.

These scientists and department staff work for the taxpayers of the United States.  We pay for their work, and if we the public, the press, or Members of Congress want to know about that work, it is our right to ask questions and get answers.

Given this administration’s apparent penchant for “alternative facts,” it is not unreasonable to expect that these gag orders will be followed up by “alternative science.”

This is an attack on science.  It is an attack on the public’s right to know.

And most of all a test of congressional leadership.  Who in the leadership is willing to tell the new Administration that this is not how government serves the public?