Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach — Crossposted from my blog, Skating Under The Ice
The media is all abuzz with claims that the Trump Administration has “gagged” or “muzzled” the EPA. Under the headline
Trump administration seeks to muzzle U.S. agency employees
the news agency Reuters reports:
On Tuesday, a source at the EPA said that staff had been told by members of the Trump administration not to speak to reporters or publish any press releases or blog posts on social media. EPA staff have also been asked not to publicize any talks, conferences, or webinars that had been planned for the next 60 days, the staffer said, asking not to be named.
The part that folks in the media don’t seem to understand is that this is standard business practice. If you run a large business you can’t have every hothead from the shipping department spouting off to the New York Times about how mean the bosses are. As a result, most large businesses have equivalent policies regarding publishing or discussing the internal business of the organization, particularly with the press.
These standard policies of large businesses generally mandate several things.
First, employees can’t talk to the press without prior authorization from the public relations department. They are told to pass all questions on to the PR department.
Next, as far as social media goes, employees are forbidden from doing anything that brings negative publicity on the organization. In particular, they cannot post on social media about what goes on at work.
Finally, it is totally verboten to discuss the future plans of the organization with anyone anywhere anytime. That is the job of the public relations department alone.
These are perfectly commonsense regulations. They are not “gagging” anyone. They are bog-standard business practice for very good reasons, and if the government employees don’t like these regulations they can go to work for Apple …
… oh, wait … Apple has exactly the same kind of policies about contact with the press and disclosures on social media, and for exactly the same reasons …
PS: If you comment, please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS you are referring to, so we can all understand your subject.