NASA Employees Avoiding Discussion of Climate Change

Date: May 30th, 2018

Agency: Federal, NASA

Explanation: Self-Censorship

Scientist: Climate

On May 30, 2018, the Guardian reported that there has been a “noticeable decline” in the amount of climate change information on published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) since President Trump took office. In an apparent act of self-censorship, NASA employees have avoided publishing information on climate change, and discussing the topic on social media. According to the Guardian report:

“During 2016, Nasa posted frequently on its climate change Facebook page, peaking at 122 posts during August of that year … There were 53 Facebook posts in January 2017, the month of Trump’s inauguration, and Nasa hasn’t come close to this total since, posting 21 times this March and 31 times in April.”

The Guardian quotes a former NASA employee who says she was warned not to discuss climate change on social media. The employee was reportedly told that, “with Trump as president, climate change is now a sensitive subject.” She indicated that career staff wanted to avoid references to climate change as they were “nervous about provoking the new administration.”