Information Suppression Definitely



I’ve been sleeping soundly since the 45th President of the United States was inaugurated Jan. 20.

It’s not for reassurances from the new administration chosen by millions of Americans. Quite the opposite.

The stress I felt after the election got to be unbearable, stymieing almost every activity.

Resolution came from talking with scores of people I know, sometimes about the election and sometimes not. Family, close friends, co-workers, and neighbors were all engaged. Today, normal sleep patterns have returned enabling strength in coming weeks and months.

The roll-out of 45’s agenda has been predictable and steady. It seems similar to 43, especially with the efforts to control communications between the federal government and the public. Whether or not the White House will censor and alter information presented by key administration officials is an open issue. It is one thing to take down web sites and social media accounts, and quite another to censor what is said by administration officials going forward.

I attended a public health conference in Columbus, Ohio after the Bush administration where Dr. Julie Gerberding, 43’s former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained the process required to give a public speech about her department’s work. The text of the speech was to be reviewed by the White House communications office, she said, which exercised editorial rights to make sure it was consistent with administration messaging. Dr. Gerberding disagreed with some edits, expressing dissatisfaction with the process. She remained loyal to the president until asked to resign effective Jan. 20, 2009 when Barack Obama was inaugurated.

In 2007, Al Gore published The Assault on Reason which documents the use of information control as a political tool by the Bush administration. He details actions by the administration that seem familiar ten years later: lies and disinformation told prior to the Invasion of Iraq; ExxonMobil’s climate change pseudo-studies released in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report; and suppression and intimidation of corporate media outlets. The book is a primer on what happened then and what to expect from the Trump administration.

Yesterday’s Associate Press interview with Douglas Ericksen is helpful in understanding 45’s approach to information control:

The Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, while new work is under a “temporary hold” before it can be released.

The communications director for President Donald Trump’s transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

Ericksen said there was no mandate to subject studies or data (at EPA) to political review, according to Associated Press. So the question has been asked and answered. In the shifting sands of Trumpworld, there is no assurance this position will hold.

I’m not going to lose sleep over the administration’s roll out.

I agree with John Podhoretz who wrote, “If every word out of Donald Trump’s mouth is greeted with shrieks of horror and rage and anger and despair and hysteria by his opponents, they are going to find it impossible to serve as any kind of effective opposition to him.”

Oppose, we must. So I am coping with 45 by relieving stress and sleeping better. It’s all part of sustaininability in a turbulent world.

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