Investigating EPA’s Attacks on a Journalist

On September 3, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) personally attacked a reporter from the Associated Press in a press release – citing an article from Breitbart. American Oversight is investigating why the EPA attacked AP reporter Michael Biesecker and whether they colluded with Breitbart to do so.

From day one, it’s been clear that President Trump’s administration takes an intensely antagonistic approach towards the press. From decrying the “fake news” media to singling out reporters at rallies, Trump has spurred a wave of attacks on the free press from the White House.

Even in this charged climate, the response by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to a recent story by the Associated Press was shocking. Instead of addressing the merits of the story, which focused on the EPA’s response to Hurricane Harvey, the agency’s press office personally attacked the reporter in a widely-distributed press release.

Suspiciously, Breitbart has launched almost identical attacks on the same reporter, using similar language as the EPA press office. We’re investigating with a series of FOIA requests to see why the EPA decided to attack this reporter and whether the press office colluded with Breitbart to plant negative stories against AP.

 

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