Monday, July 18, 2005

Bad EPA. Bad!

Dan Drezner highlights an NYT article detailing a public relations plan by the EPA's R&D department to, among other things, pay PR firms to place "good stories" about it in scholarly publications. Donald Kennedy, former head of the Food & Drug Administration and current editor of Science magazine, rightly calls the idea "appalling." The issue here is the same as applies to the Office of National Drug Control Policy's video news releases that were formatted to look like news reports: public relations artifices should always be marked clearly as such and only appear in appropriate media. It should go without saying that scholarly publications are intended for scientific reporting and should be kept free of government propaganda. The EPA should stick to unambiguous advertising and leave the empirical work to serious researchers who don't have hidden political agendas.