Pruitt has faced a barrage of criticism in recent weeks after emails surfaced indicating that the EPA was attempting to intervene in a critical study of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (collectively known as ‘PFAS’), chemicals used in dozens of everyday household products and industrial applications which don’t break down and remain in the environment and human body indefinitely.
Prolonged exposure to PFAS, which are found in everything from nonstick coating to firefighting foam, as well as extensively in the national drinking water supply, has been linked to developmental delays and other severe health problems.
It goes without saying that a health threat of this magnitude demands strict attention, both from the public as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle, in addition to comprehensive media coverage from every available outlet.
However, this has not been the case so far at the summit in Washington, as EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox announced on Tuesday that the Associated Press, CNN, and the environmental news organization E&E were locked out of the proceedings, without specifying a reason for the snub.
There were even reports of Gestapo-style tactics by armed guards, who physically blocked members of the press from entering, and in one case an AP reporter was forcibly tossed out of the building after asking to speak with a public-affairs representative.
Such extreme opposition to a select group of new outlets associated with the same leftist agendas begs the question: why have these networks been denied access to a seemingly non-partisan hearing on contaminants in drinking water, and what (if anything) is the EPA hiding? Or is it a matter of what these barred entities might add to the conversation that Pruitt et. al. are afraid of?
The answers to these questions are still unclear, but what is certain is that any attempt to ban media from discourse on so crucial a topic is a direct threat to democracy as we know it. All throughout history, totalitarian regimes and dictatorships have used the repression of information to maintain their stranglehold over the populace. And though the events at the EPA summit are a far cry from Nazi Germany, they do imply a fundamental tear in the fabric of American democracy, and that’s something that should concern us all, regardless of which side of the aisle we stand on.
Source: Associated Press