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Government Republicans The Almighty Buck Science Politics

USDA Scrambles To Ease Concerns After Researchers Were Ordered To Stop Publishing Publicly Funded Science (popsci.com) 372

Layzej writes: Popular Science reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now barred from communicating with the public. [And early this morning, BuzzFeed revealed that] The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has banned scientists and other employees from sharing the results of its taxpayer-funded research with the broader public. From the report: "The memo outlining these new rules has not been made public, but the ban reportedly includes everything from summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets. Scientists are still able to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, but they are unable to talk about that research without prior consent from their agency. This is not the first time that public science has been hamstrung by a gag order. To this day, the quantity of oil spewed into the ocean during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill remains something of a mystery. Many of the scientists who worked on the spill were hired by BP and barred from speaking on it. But gag orders -- while always troublesome -- have usually been limited to one specific issue. Right now, the EPA and USDA have been forbidden to speak about all of their scientific research. It means that many of the kinds of stories we now cover will never see the light of day." UPDATE 1/24/17: The USDA has disavowed the memo sent to employees at its Agricultural Research Service unit. USDA's deputy administrator, Michael Young, clarified that the gag order specifically applies to policy-related statements in press releases and interviews, which need to be vetted with the secretary of agriculture. He told The Washington Post that peer-reviewed scientific papers from the unit should not be blocked, nor should food safety announcements. The Washington Post notes that "the memo's shortness and terse language seems to have exacerbated the confusion: 'Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,' wrote ARS chief Sharon Drumm in an email to employees."
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USDA Scrambles To Ease Concerns After Researchers Were Ordered To Stop Publishing Publicly Funded Science

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  • Alternate-facts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Macdude ( 23507 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @10:12PM (#53732273)

    There is no surprise here, it's difficult to deny scientific facts if your scientists are allowed to share actual facts.

  • And we won't be able to see ANYTHING going on. Sounds like a plan!

  • by Swave An deBwoner ( 907414 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @10:27PM (#53732331)
    It looks like Trump is toeing to the historical Republican line here.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/six-years-of-deceit-20070628 [rollingstone.com]

    No longer is the administration simply censoring scientific reports – it has moved to silence the scientists themselves. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the administration refused to allow a top federal scientist whose research links increased hurricane intensity to global warming to speak to the press. It sent out a gag order to top government polar scientists, demanding that anyone attending international scientific conventions agree not to speak to reporters about "climate change, polar bears and sea ice." And it ordered a former intern from the Bush-Cheney campaign in the NASA press office to prevent Dr. James Hansen, the godfather of global-warming science, from talking to the media.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @10:32PM (#53732351) Journal

    It's not just the USDA.

    It's also the EPA and the Department of the Interior. Tweets containing non-controversial scientific facts were deleted this afternoon.

    http://thehill.com/policy/ener... [thehill.com]

    http://www.miamiherald.com/new... [miamiherald.com]

    Don't be alarmed, it is for your own good. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

    • Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.
    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      You wanted government to be involved in everything everyone does. How's that working out for you?

    • Damn. I never thought there would be a day where I would say seriousl that we have always been at war with Eurasia.... The next 4 years will be ... Interresting.
  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @10:42PM (#53732399) Homepage

    Our former government didn't have any problem at all with muzzling scientists, their organizations as well as defunding anybody who didn't step up to their pro-oil agenda.

    Very disturbing to see an anti-science government, regardless of where it is.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Yeah, government power is disturbing. Maybe there should be less government wielding less power?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @10:45PM (#53732417)

    You can help mirror the climate data. Go to climatemirror.org [climatemirror.org] and grab the torrents, the National Land Cover Database has been completely uploaded (11GB). There's also a mailing list [firemountain.net] for further info and future efforts.

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @10:54PM (#53732445)
    Lock down information sources such as the news media. Ensure that all information which is released is fully vetted to support government policies and decrees.

    Once information is fully controlled, police activity to enforce government policy can proceed unabated with little fear of meeting organized resistance. President Trump appears to have learned quite well from history.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @11:14PM (#53732545)
    Dictators and communists usually want to block information. America is now in a state of emergency.
  • CA will continue to have environmental protection, no matter what the federal government. We still have open borders, so if you need to escape US idiocy, we welcome you with open arms. The same goes for IL, NY, and a few other first world nation states. The rest of the country can go fuck yourselves.

  • or does that "clarification" bear all the hallmarks of an ass-covering exercise ?

  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @06:37AM (#53733589)

    Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.

    It is easy to get confused by that writing if, you know, understand English.

The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.