Massachusetts Restricting State Scientists’ Communications
On May 13, 2019, the Boston Globe’s environmental reporter, David Abel, published a story exposing Massachusetts’ censorship of state scientists. Under the current Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker (R), state scientists must obtain permission from a state public relations person before speaking with journalists, but requests on a variety of environmental topics have been routinely denied or ignored.
Abel had contacted Andrew Vitz, the state ornithologist, requesting comment on a story about birds. Vitz accepted the invitation, but stipulated that Abel must obtain permission from a state public relations person first. Upon contacting Katie Gronendyke, a press secretary at the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Abel was denied his request, and instead given a list of four pre-written bullet points of background information.