Trump orders scientists from the US Department of Agriculture to stop publishing news and sharing scientific papers to the media. The department and its 2,000 researchers are officially banned from releasing information and scientific papers with the public. This raises public concern that the Trump administration is aiming to filter articles and influence distribution of the department's findings.
"Starting immediately and until further notice, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will not release any public-facing documents," chief of staff, Sharon Drumm, writes in a email. She also says that the ban includes but is not limited to news, fact sheets, photos, news feeds, and social media news sharing. The Department of Agriculture gag comes at the same time as Trump imposed media blackout at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Both US departments are now forbidden press releases, making updates on blogs, or posting news on their social media accounts as Trump orders scientists to keep their finding to themselves. US Department of Agriculture officials scramble to ease intense public scrutiny and media requests by clarifying the memo Tuesday afternoon. According to the SF Gate , the Agricultural Research Service states that they had not “blacked out public information”.
It also adds that scientific articles published through professional peer-reviewed journals have not been banned and are available to the public. Such order would have gone against the integrity of established scientific standards and previous media guidance. According to The Washington Post, ARS states that is committed to ensuring the free flow of information between scientists and the American public as they "strive to find solutions to agricultural problems affecting America.”
The ARS has thousands of scientists and maintains a host of research locations around the US with a $1 billion budget. Its focus on research is to “develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority.” As Trump orders scientists to keep quiet, concerns on media black-out and the administration influencing findings have run rampant.