But can they tweet? The Globe’s David Abel meta-reports that the Baker administration’s restricts journalists’ access to state scientists who work on environment and pollution — even for a story about birds.
I’m hesitant to use the word, but there is something rather Trumpian about this interference. These scientists work for us, the public — not as messengers of a Governor’s preferred talking points. Their job is to do good professional work in good faith, and let the political chips fall where they may.
Now, is this new to the Baker administration? Were the Patrick, Romney et al administrations like this? Here’s Abel (my emphasis):
This was not unusual, particularly since Governor Charlie Baker came into office. But I wasn’t optimistic.
… I have had the same experience reporting stories about more sensitive subjects, including mercury pollution, nuclear power, carbon emissions, etc. I ask questions and seek comment from our public officials, and the Baker administration routinely won’t allow them to speak to me.
It’s on Baker.
Of course, this reaches beyond things ornithological. Birds are part of ecosystems which are affected by, and implicate human life. And when it comes to public health, nothing is acceptable short of 100% transparency. What are they hiding from the public?
Incidentally, Baker is asking everyone to trust him, that there’s nothing to see behind the curtain, even as his administration seems to be ready to approve an extremely controversial compressor station in Weymouth. Listen to the baffling, Kafkaesque story of the state’s permitting process, as told by the indefatigable (and entertaining) Andrea Honoré. There’s so much that is not on the up-and-up — not least of which is the uncritical use of gas company Enbridge’s own pollution measures in its Health Impact Assessment — and the exclusion of other assessments less flattering to the project.
The Baker administration is not to be trusted with the public health.