The Trump administration has told employees at multiple agencies to cease any communication with the public by:
- News Releases;
- Official Social Media Accounts;
and other correspondences.
This is raising the concern that federal employees will be able to take only information that supports President Trump’s agenda. And I am concerned also. Something about this doesn’t feel right!
These new limits on public communication seems to be aimed at agencies that are in charge of overseeing scientific policy and environment. It is prompting criticism from officials within the these agencies and from outside groups that are focused on climate change.
EPA, AGRICULTURE & INTERIOR
The Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Agriculture and Interior departments now have formal policies restricting what they should convey to the public about their work.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he and his colleague were “looking into” whether the administration had changed the way other agencies shared information publicly or if it is only those departments focusing on climate change and the environment.
“I don’t think it’s any surprise that when there’s an administration turnover that we’re going to review the policies,” Spicer said, “but with respect to the question you’re asking, I don’t have information at this time.”
Most new administrations — including former president Barack Obama’s — have moved rapidly to take control of the U.S. government’s public relations technology and centralize decision-making upon taking office. But the far-reaching nature of some of these new controls is rare, and the fact that they come as departments that have been communicating through an assortment of digital platforms has made the changes predominantly visible.
The moves also underscore the kind of combat that could continue to take place between incoming political appointees and civil service employees.
For example, at the EPA, communications staff received a memo telling them that “no social media will be going out” and “a digital strategist will be coming on board” to oversee it. It added, “Incoming media requests will carefully screened.”
According to a former agency official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, members of Trump’s EPA landing team spent considerable time asking about who manages the department’s communications devices, especially regarding social media.
SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
EPA’s numerous social media accounts appear to have fallen silent since Trump’s inauguration, with the lone exclusion of the agency’s Office of Water, which sent out a handful of tweets over the weekend, including a link to what local communities are doing to protect their waterways and advice on using an app to help people figure out whether their local waterway is polluted.
“The EPA fully intends to continue to provide information to the public,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday, in response to questions about the media blackout. “A fresh look at public affairs and communications processes is common practice for any new Administration, and a short pause in activities allows for this assessment.”
Federal agencies ordered to restrict their communications – Washington Times
Silenced Federal Agencies Violating Their Own Policies – Daily Inter Lake
Trump clamps down on federal agencies – The Hill | Blogger – blogger-net.com › U.S.