Sunday, October 28, 2007

Restricting The Flow Of Information

When this administration isn't pulling the veil of total secrecy over its activities, it's placing a restrictor plate over any information that just might get out. Most recently, FEMA held a fake news conference over its response to the California wild fires. When the fakery was exposed, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff was forced to excoriate the people at FEMA who came up with the idea, not because it was dishonest, but because it was "dumb," so dumb, in fact, that even the press corps figured it out.

This week, however, there was another bit of restrictor plate imposition reported, one in a long line, and an editorial in today's Sacramento Bee provides a handy list of some of them.

From polar bears to public health, government scientists' views keep running into political Wite-Out at the White House.

The latest example in a stunning array of them came last week when the Associated Press reported that the White House made significant edits in testimony about the impact of climate change on public health. Deleted sections, which the AP said covered more than half of the original text, included a list of specifics in which "climate change is likely to have a significant impact on health."

They included the effect of more frequent hot weather on vulnerable populations, the impact of extreme weather, more air pollution in drought-stricken areas and the greater likelihood of vector-borne and water-borne diseases. ...

Unlike many of us, Gerberding seemed unconcerned by the hubbub. "A mountain out of a molehill," she said. If that's the case, she should look back over this administration's "molehills." They're all over the map, from department to department, coast to coast. Stacked atop one another, they form a mighty mountain of misinformation.

In July, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona testified that he had been unable to speak freely about major issues such as stem cell research during his tenure from 2002-2006. "Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," he told a House committee.

In March, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife "Foreign Travel" memo surfaced warning Alaska employees not to speak about climate change and the possible extinction of polar bears without explicit authorization. It set out a process for an "official spokesman" to be designated who understands "the administration's position on these issues."

Last year, James E. Hansen, a top NASA scientist, said the administration tried to stop him from calling for speedy reductions in greenhouse gases. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he told the New York Times.
[Emphasis added]

While hardly an exhaustive list, the one provided by the editorialist does give a pretty clear picture of how this administration has intentionally and consistently sought to suppress information that might in any way contradict the "official" (desired) position. By keeping the public uninformed, "catapulting the propaganda" works ever so much better.



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