White House Launches Task Force Aimed at Keeping Politics Out of Federal Scientific Policies

To guard against political influence in science within the government, the White House announced the official launch of the Scientific Integrity Task Force.

The new initiative, announced Monday, includes 46 members from more than two dozen government agencies who are tasked with looking back through 2009, to find where political partisanship may have exacted influence over decisions that were supposed to be evidence and research-based.

The effort, which was motivated by the previous administration’s seeming aversion to all things science, whether it be climate change or the pandemic, will be led by the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP).

An administration official told CNN last month, that the task force “review is less about Trump’s actions to interfere in scientific decisions and more about protecting science in the federal government going forward.”

However, Jane Lubchenco, the deputy director for climate and environment at the OSTP, used Trump’s “Sharpiegate” fiasco as an example of “political interference with scientific information that was potentially extraordinarily dangerous” in an interview with the AP.

“Sharpiegate” stems from a 2019 incident where Trump put out false information about the trajectory of Hurricane Dorian. Instead of correcting his mistake, the former president stuck with his lie and went so far as to show the media an altered weather map where a Sharpie marker was used to make it appear incorrectly that the hurricane was on track to hit Alabama, causing some to panic and endangering lives.

“We want people to be able to trust what the federal government is telling you,” Lubchenco told the AP., “Whether it’s a weather forecast or information about vaccine safety or whatever.”

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