Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has taken much well-deserved flak for his mission to overturn regulations regarding clean air & water, excessive spending for travel and security (e.g., 24/7 bodyguards, soundproof phone booth) and crackdown on EPA scientists for participating in programs dealing with the effects of climate change.
The EPA press shop has adopted Pruitt’s confrontational approach, dropping its traditional “fishbowl” or total transparency policy advocated by its first administrator Bill Ruckelshaus. In 1983, Ruckelshaus: “EPA will not accord privileged status to any special interest group, nor will it accept any recommendation without careful examination.”
The EPA press shop traditionally adhered to that fishbowl strategy by remaining neutral to agency policy directives. Team Trump has shattered that neutrality.
Inside Climate News, the Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental watchdog, reported Oct. 24 that the EPA press office has gone from stripping mentions of climate change from the agency’s website and singing praises of Pruitt to lobbing personal attacks at reporters.
EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman, an alum from the American Chemistry Council, responded to an email request from New York Times reporter Eric Lipton with: “No matter how much information we give you, you would never write a fair piece. The only thing inappropriate and biased is your continued fixation on writing elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country.”
An Associated Press reporter was attacked in an EPA release for “a history of not letting the facts get the way of his story.”
Reporters represent the public’s interest. The EPA’s press office’s hostility toward the media is a disservice to the American people.