The Friday-afternoon news dump is a time-honored tradition in Washington. While most of the world is making dinner reservations, checking tee times, or making grocery lists in preparation for the weekend, government officials can release news they’d rather brush under the rug, knowing that it will go relatively unnoticed and underreported.
Anecdotes aside, a recent study concludes that at least one agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, is statistically guilty of the practice--and that the Clinton administration was the worst offender in recent history.
The nonpartisan Resources for the Future, which researches environmental issues, analyzed more than 21,000 news releases issued by the EPA in the last 15 years, a timeframe that spans the last three presidents. The study found that throughout the years, Friday releases were most common, as well as releases on holidays--the very times when they are least likely to be noticed.
The study hints that the EPA’s timing did not appear to be coincidential (insert eye roll).
We’re shocked, simply shocked.
Notices of enforcement actions taken against companies violating environmental laws and regulations--i.e., damaging news that could hurt companies’ reputations, and, more importantly, their bottom lines--were often released after the financial markets closed.
And while the Clinton-era EPA excelled at the art of the Friday dump, the Obama and Bush White Houses were no slouches. The two are running neck-in-neck, although the researchers tell us they have relatively less data to go on from Obama’s EPA.