Sunday, February 03, 2008

Blindsided by science

So we've all been suitably appalled at this news by now :

NaPo : Environment Canada scientists told to toe the line
"Environment Canada has "muzzled" its scientists, ordering them to refer all media queries to Ottawa where communications officers will help them respond with "approved lines."

Anyone remember George Deutsch?
Deutsch was a young Texas college student who was rewarded for his work on George Bush's campaign with a post as a press secretary at NASA. His job was to water down whatever science was deemed to be inconvenient or embarrassing to the Bush administration. It all went sideways when leading NASA climatologist James Hansen complained that he was being "muzzled", that his reports and studies were modified and censored in order to be more in line with the administration’s political policies, particularly on global warming.

Back to NaPo : "The new policy, which went into force in recent weeks and sent a chill through the department research divisions, is designed to control the department's media message and ensure there are no "surprises" for Environment Minister John Baird and senior management when they open the newspaper or turn on the television"

It is not the job of Environment Canada to ensure that Mr.Baird is not "surprised" by chance encounters with science on TV, and it sure as hell is not the job of "communications officers" and the George Deutsches of the world to interpret that science for us with "approved lines".

Bah.

1 comment:

pogge said...

I'm pretty sure that the list of things a real scientist could do that would be guaranteed not to surprise John Baird would begin and end with: don't show up for work. Maybe that's what he has in mind.

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