Opinion Piece Discusses Potential Implications Of Media’s Limited Access To U.S. Government Researchers

Washington Post: Trump doesn’t want the public to know what government scientists are doing
Gabriel Popkin, science journalist and chair of the National Association of Science Writers’ information access committee

“…[I]t’s increasingly difficult to know what our publicly funded scientists are up to. Over the past few decades, one federal agency after another has thrown up barriers limiting the media’s access to researchers. … The public has an obvious interest in knowing whether the [money] the government spends annually on research and development is being used responsibly and to our benefit. … When agencies refuse access to experts who can explain how scientific knowledge is produced and how science-based decisions are made, understanding of and trust in government suffer. At a time when there is widespread confusion about issues from climate change to vaccines to genetically modified organisms, we need to hear more from scientists, not less. … The Trump administration has made no secret of its disdain for certain kinds of science, particularly on climate, the environment, and public health. Some of its attempts to shut down disfavored research (such as studies on surface coal mining health effects and oil and gas drilling safety) have succeeded; others (such as an attempt to end a tropical forest research program) have been reversed by Congress. But the creeping obstruction of the science press has gotten little pushback. Perhaps that’s because it’s a trend so long and consistent that we barely notice it anymore” (12/12).

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