Posted: 4:00 am Thursday, January 26th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
A protest over climate change policies and new limits on the public release of climate-related data by certain federal agencies has grown into a larger social media demonstration against the Trump Administration, with over a dozen rogue government Twitter accounts expressing disapproval of the new President, as they make the case that more attention is needed on global warming.
“Resisting the censorship of facts and science,” reads the Twitter profile of @AltUSDA. “Truth wins in the end.”
“He can take our official Twitter, but he’ll never take our FREEDOM,” reads @ActualEPAFacts. “Unofficially resisting at the @EPA.”
“Science deniers are dangerous. The impact of climate change is real,” was one tweet from @RogueNASA.
2 days without a post on our main social accounts. We would like to bring you great news about food & drugs but…
— AltFDA (@alt_fda) January 25, 2017
Rogue Twitter accounts are fun, but gov't employees and scientists are very afraid of being fired if they speak out & share facts. #resist
— Rogue NASA (@RogueNASA) January 25, 2017
Can't wait for President Trump to call us FAKE NEWS.
You can take our official twitter, but you'll never take our free time!
— AltUSNatParkService (@AltNatParkSer) January 25, 2017
But at the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “the communications clampdown at EPA wasn’t directed by the White House.”
While many Democrats didn’t seem to believe that, even if the White House didn’t give the orders, the Trump Administration would certainly seem to have the power to curtail the release of information by the Executive Branch.
“It’s certainly understandable why many people are alarmed over communications bans,” wrote the American Civil Liberties Union in a web post.
“However, one of the consequences of the election is that the new administration now controls what federal agencies say and what side of an issue they take in a debate about, for example, climate change or reproductive rights,” the ACLU added.
The ACLU noted that individual government employees do have First Amendment rights to speak out on their own time – but not through government channels, if those in charge don’t approve.
As for the rogue Twitter accounts, it wasn’t immediately clear if those were all being manned by current federal workers from various agencies, like NASA, the Food and Drug Administration, the Forest Service and more.
The social media protests were getting a lot of attention from environmental groups who fear that a Trump White House will do all it can to suppress climate concerns.
“The revolution will be tweeted by our National Parks,” said the Natural Resources Defense Council.
There were also more signs of Twitter defiance from within the federal government on Wednesday, a day after tweets on climate change by one national park Twitter account had been deleted, as another national park was tweeting about climate.
— Redwood N&S Parks (@RedwoodNPS) January 25, 2017
And there were other examples circulating as well of social media posts that had been taken down:
Democrats swiftly used the dispute to try to raise money to combat Trump.
“Why is Trump making it harder for the media to report on the actions of the federal government?” the Democrats asked in a fundraising email.
But as the ACLU observed, the Republicans are now in charge – and whether you like it or not, they get to call the shots.
In other words, when you win the White House, you get the keys to operate a vast array of federal agencies.
And when you lose the White House, you have to retreat to rogue Twitter accounts.
It is yet another reminder that elections do matter.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.