Let The EPA Play By The Rules

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are apparently living in a stark dictatorship where communication is suppressed, speech is censored, thought is controlled and the morning pledge to Barack Obama is history, like yesterday’s news.  Well, that’s what I hear, anyway.  You’d think Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels had just issued a public affairs edict to the folks at environment — to hear the howls of protest that they will no longer be permitted to issue the talking points and news releases of the previous administration.  Shocking isn’t it?  It’s like there was a new president or something.

The EPA needs to play by the rules.  But first we need to define those rules.

The subject came up last night on Tucker Carlson Tonight.  Lest you think I am unhealthily addicted to Tucker Time, due to the show’s frequent presence in these columns, I usually view the preceding broadcast – O’Reilly – and sometimes the following program – Sean Hannity – as well.  For the longest time, the 9 p.m. time-slot was a strain because Fox forced us to watch the multi-problematic ME-gyn Kelly do her self-sycophantic news anchor act and that, at times, was simply unbearable.

Fox’s senior political analyst Brit Hume was one of Carlson’ guests on Tuesday and the two discussed the growing fascism at the EPA.  Hume is a broadcaster whom I’ll never tire of.  He’s from the old school of television journalism that didn’t obsess over telegenic anchors with perfect dental work, a trendy wardrobe and flawless faces.  Not that Hume resembles urban homelessness – we’ll leave that to Hollywood stars who leave their posh homes looking like bums – but he does look like he’s more concerned with the news than his network fan base.  Kind of reminds me of Walter Cronkite at times:  no-nonsense and get to the point.

Hume mildly surprised me with the extent of his enthusiasm for President Donald Trump’s decision to reign in the EPA public affairs staffers:  “I think it’s a wonderful idea.  Here’s a man taking control of the government, huge slices of which will not be content with his policies, a government heavily populated with people who did not vote for him and presumably will resist his policies.  And he doesn’t have his people in charge of these agencies and he’s trying to keep them from publishing and putting out information that does not conform with his policies. l can hardly blame him for doing that,” he said.

OK, this was Brit Hume, not Trump press secretary Sean Spicer, talking.  Hume is anything but a conservative ideologue and was not exactly enthusiastic in his earliest appraisal of Trump – though he has since done the honest thing and is giving the new administration a chance to govern.

Here’s why there is absolutely nothing dictatorial about managing the communications department of the EPA:  because it’s a government department and not independent media.  The liberals don’t get that.  Yes, it will be very difficult for them to adjust to a White House that does not issue Democratic talking points every day but I would hope that they anticipated at least a slight change in tone and message with the new administration in town.

But the media liberals intentionally don’t get it because they honestly believe that there should be two standards and two different rules of the game.  And it’s not like the  rules change to benefit the home team; it’s like the rules favor the same team, no matter if they are at home or away.

Thus what’s good for the conservative gander is never good for the liberal goose.  It is shocking to hear Trump use coarse language but somehow sobering to listen to Madonna use the f-word and talk about blowing up the White House.  Can you imagine if a conservative entertainer – as rare a commodity as that may be – had mused about torching the White House during the Obama era?  Yes, I’m sure you can.

So telling the EPA what to say is not an ominous tremor of a growing totalitarian quake.  It’s just good public policy.  They work for the government.  They are paid by the government.  To do what the government says.  To write the news releases the government of the day tells them to write.  They do not receive grand federal remuneration to do their own thing and make their own policy:  any more than the United States military decides how to defend the United States from all enemies, domestic or foreign, without the President defining that mission for them

It’s called good government.

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