The Espionage Act case against controversial figure Julian Assange is a wedge that could later be used to restrict press freedoms for journalists and so should be dropped by the incoming Biden administration, argues the new WatchDog opinion column. That, plus why the “murder the media” message signals the need for a law to make it a crime to assault journalists.
As a new Biden administration prepares for office, WatchDog issues a call for restoring open government. The latest opinion column puts forward a list of 20 recommended actions that include outlawing assault on journalists, clearing FOIA backlogs and counteracting ag-gag laws. Plus, an updated reporter’s Bill of Rights for government press offices.
A forthcoming U.S. National Climate Assessment, due in 2022, faces delays, thanks to Trump administration foot-dragging, according to the new WatchDog Opinion column. And the Supreme Court, possibly with a new Justice Amy Coney Barrett aboard, is about to hear arguments on a freedom of information case involving the Endangered Species Act.
More revelations of Trump administration duplicity on the science front, per the new WatchDog opinion column, which reports on a scoop about political appointees trying to warp weekly public health data to ensure they don’t undercut Trump’s political messaging. Oh, and Bob Woodward’s new book affirming the president knew of COVID-19’s dangers early on, but deliberately played them down.
Efforts to bury pandemic data is a story environmental journalists best keep an eye on, argues the new WatchDog opinion column. That’s partly because of the connection between the novel coronavirus and climate change, air pollution and environmental justice. But also because it echoes a deepening rejection of science that’s long been part of the environment beat.
When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a press release with favorable industry response to changes in a rule protecting migratory birds — before actually proposing the new rule — a group of former agency officials cried foul. Plus, why encrypted police scanners are a problem and an ag-gag ruling, all in the latest WatchDog opinion column.
Mishandling of vital information by the U.S. government worsened the COVID-19 pandemic, argues the latest WatchDog. The no-holds-barred opinion piece, which notes that coronavirus is as much an environmental story as a public health one, points the finger at the White House and the “Silent CDC,” sifts the wreckage of the testing program and speculates about the dearth of data as the nation reopens.
A long-standing law designed to protect public information about environmental impacts is facing an unfavorable overhaul, while a proposal dictating how EPA uses scientific findings in its rulings is nearing finalization. WatchDog has those items, plus how states are using the COVID-19 pandemic to restrict press and more.
The economic fallout from COVID-19 is severely damaging the news business, but may also point to transformative new ways of doing journalism, writes columnist Joseph A. Davis in the latest WatchDog. Meanwhile, the coronavirus-climate connection shows the importance of good, scientifically sound journalism. And are federal agencies leaning on COVID-19 to slow FOIA actions?
In the second of a two-part return from hiatus recast as an opinion column from SEJournal Online’s Joseph A. Davis, WatchDog looks at freedom of information developments at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Interior. Plus, check out part one for more on the column relaunch and for background on open-information activities by the Society of Environmental Journalists, as well as a look at the lack of government openness around coronavirus.