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gag order now rescinded

Trump tells USDA to stop communicating

Folks at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service received an email Monday morning from their chief of staff telling them not to talk to the public about their work, as reported by Gizmodo and other media.

BuzzFeed, which received the email communication from an unnamed source, reports:

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for ARS, wrote in a department-wide email shared with BuzzFeed News.

“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” she added.

Reuters reports that the USDA said the initial email was “flawed,” and that “This internal email was released without Departmental direction, and prior to Departmental guidance being issued,” according to a statement. “ARS will be providing updated direction to its staff.” Mashable reports that the initial order stood in direct conflict with the USDA’s Scientific Integrity Policy, “encouraging, but not requiring, USDA scientists to communicate with the media about their scientific findings.”

The USDA rescinded the ban via an email to its employees this week. BuzzFeed reports:

“Yesterday, we sent an email message about Agency informational products like news releases and social media content,” [Chavonda Jacobs-Young, ARS administrator] wrote in the email, which was shared with BuzzFeed News. “This internal email was released prior to receiving official Departmental guidance and is hereby rescinded.”

Source: Gizmodo

Publication date: 1/26/2017

 


 

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