Monday, January 30, 2006

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him - New York Times

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him - New York Times

This article, by the NY Times'Andrew Revkin, describes NASA's attempt to stifle the dissemination of scientific information that does not concur with the mythology of the Bush administration. I am not surprised, but I am still horrified. This is probably going on in many fields. The scientist in question is a climate expert, and has spoken and written often over the past 30-odd years on climate change. He is highly respected in the scientific community, and presents his views as his alone, not official statements from NASA. Yet, NASA is trying to prevent him from speaking to the press because his messages do not make the Bush administration look good. I'm not kidding:
"In one call, George Deutsch, a recently appointed public affairs officer at NASA headquarters, rejected a request from a producer at National Public Radio to interview Dr. Hansen, said Leslie McCarthy, a public affairs officer responsible for the Goddard Institute.

Citing handwritten notes taken during the conversation, Ms. McCarthy said Mr. Deutsch called N.P.R. "the most liberal" media outlet in the country. She said that in that call and others, Mr. Deutsch said his job was "to make the president look good" and that as a White House appointee that might be Mr. Deutsch's priority. "

Where does it end? It isn't just at NASA. Apparently this happened at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, too. Who knows where else.

It is absolutely inappropriate and unproductive for politicians to gag or message-manage scientists. The Bush administration has created an alternative to reality, a mythology in which scientists are crazy and religious nuts are credible scientists (ID). They are trying to create a situation in which the only available information is information that supports their version of reality. If this doesn't remind you of The Matrix, it should at least remind you of China and other dictatorships.

I keep saying it, and I will say it again: it will not surprise me if Bush tries to get a third term. It will not surprise me if the elections are rigged. Everywhere else I have seen the symptoms of tyranny, that is what has happened.

1 comment:

RDR said...

This is not new or unexpected.. It is not just a product of the Bush Administration; although Bush seems to hide more than most did previously. As far back as the 1960's and in every Administration I worked under I had reports killed or edited so that the conclusions were ambiguous. On one occasion I wrote a report that did not fit with my supervisors bias. He re-assign responsibility to another person who was totally inept. But he and her were particularly close, if you get my meaning. Her draft was referred to me and I took it apart. My draft got published under the next administration.

Politicians will always want to obfuscate, and be ambiguous. Scientists will always want to report results of their work as facts. The press will always “expose the truth”. And citizens will always need to make their own clarifications of the issues.