The media went into a frenzy on Monday, Jan. 23, as they received word of a gag order, or what is now being called a “media blackout” by news sites such as Associated Press and CBS News. The “media blackout” is said to come from President Trump’s administration, although Press Secretary Sean Spicer says that this order did not come from the White House.
The “media blackout” affected the Department of Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and most notably the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With the blackout in place, these government departments are discouraged from publishing press releases, posting on social media, posting blogs, and adding new content to their websites.
While some news sources have taken this to mean that President Trump’s administration is hindering access to public knowledge, others predict that the blackout would be lifted by the end of the week. On Friday, Jan. 27, the Trump administration lifter the “media blackout” and the departments continued to post on both on social media and websites, as well as implement press conferences.
Many people wonder why the “media blackout” occurred. In fact, the blackout was not an attempt to keep information from the public, instead it is a common occurrence when administrations are transferring over. President Obama’s administration issued a similar memo in 2009 when he first came to office. The blackout allowed the administration to pick their appointed heads of the departments and look over the information provided by the departments and make sure it aligns with the beliefs of the new administration.