Bush Administration muzzles scientists, lies about it

Paul Thacker has the story in Salon:

In February, there were several press reports about the Bush administration exercising message control on the subject of climate change. The New Republic cited numerous instances in which top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and scientists at the National Hurricane Center sought to downplay links between more-intense hurricanes and global warming. NOAA scientist Thomas Knutson told the Wall Street Journal he'd been barred from speaking to CNBC because his research suggested just such a link.

At the time, Bush administration officials denied that they did any micromanaging of media requests for interviews. But a large batch of e-mails obtained by Salon through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that the White House was, in fact, controlling access to scientists and vetting reporters.

The best bit is this:

When NOAA press officer Laborde was contacted to discuss the e-mails, he denied that interviews were subject to approval from White House officials. Confronted with his own e-mails, however, he said, "If you already knew the answer, why did you ask the question?"


Thanks to Joel Shore for the tip.

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"If you already knew the answer, why did you ask the question?"

"Why - to confirm that you would lie about it of course!"

Wonder which of the denialist cheer squad we'll now hear from, complaining perhaps that Tim is encouraging the ad hominem abuse of professional Bush administration liars who're just going about their paid daily business?

this Paul Thacker?

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 20 Sep 2006 #permalink

Ooooooh....it's the big bad US bogeyman conspiring against 'truth' again...you guys need to get a life (and some values, come to think of it).

By Jack Lacton (not verified) on 20 Sep 2006 #permalink

Jack Lacton: values like, say, honesty? I don't know what you mean by putting "truth" in quotes, perhaps that there's no such thing? More of that glorious "we make our own reality" rhetoric?

Obviously you haven't been looking at the recent nerdness competition on scienceblogs. I don't think people here were ever affected by brilliant, witty jock stings like "get a life".

Right wing postmodernism strikes again!

It has been said that only a smart person can lie and get away with it.

Every day, someone else in the Bush administration proves the fallacy of this claim.

"It has been said that only a smart person can lie and get away with it.

Every day, someone else in the Bush administration proves the fallacy of this claim."

I rather think the Bush administration is helping to prove this claim. They aren't smart, and they're not getting away with it.

Jack Lacton,

Thank you for your honesty in admitting you approve of lying.


I fail to see your point. If you are trying to claim that Thacker misquotes people, I don't see anything in that ClimateAudit piece that implies this. None of the scientists claimed that they were misquoted by Thacker.

Besides which, if your follow links, you can see the actual e-mails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. I think the only major thing we are relying on Thacker for is the quote from Laborde when Thacker contacted him. So, are you saying that you think that quote was fabricated?

By Joel Shore (not verified) on 21 Sep 2006 #permalink

Press Officer (n.) - a zen master trained in the art of lying with a straight face while pedalling backwards; also renowned for their ability to express righteous indignation when anyone dares to doubt their lies. See Scott McClellan, Tony Snow.

Press Office (n.) - a den of liars and professional deceivers.

Abe G.: When the GOP-cowed US press keeps automatically taking everything Bush and his buddies say at face value, BushCo gets away with it.

"They aren't smart, and they're not getting away with it [the lying]."

Getting "called on" the lies and getting away with them are two different things.

Bush has succeeded in getting away with most of his lies. That does not mean no one has caught the lies, just that no one has (yet) been able to hold him accountable for them.

@Jack Lacton: Ha! Great satire! Sometimes it's hard to tell satire from true idiocy, but since nobody could be that stupid I have to assume your post was satire. Keep it up! I like it!

So, does this mean that Bill Clinton didn't get blow jobs after all? I mean, if there's no "truth" or anything. If the president said it, it must be true!

With sincerest appologies to Charlie Daniels Band

Dubya went down to Georgia,
He was lookin' for a vote to steal
And he was in a bind
'Cause he was way behind
And was willin' to make a deal.

When he came upon this young man playin'
a scientist and playin' it straight
Dubya jumped up on a hickory
stump and thought
"Let's see if he takes the bait"

"I bet you didn't know it
but I'm a computer scientist too,
And if you care to take a dare
I'll make a bet with you.

Now you program a pretty mean computer boy
But give the devil his due
I'll bet a computer of gold against your soul
'Cause I think I'm better than you."


I believe this is the correct Paul Thacker.

Congratulations to ES&T Associate Editor Paul D. Thacker for being chosen as a finalist in the Society of Environmental Journalists' 5th annual awards program, for the entry "Integrity in Science", a series of articles including "How the Wall Street Journal and Rep. Barton celebrated a global-warming skeptic".

Google "Hans Erren" and you'll see that he's a climate change "skeptic" from Holland who goes around posting comments on every global warming issue he can find:


He likes to accuse people of engaging in "ad hominen attacks" against him, but as you can see, he's not afraid to engage in a little character assassination himself. And he's apparently not above defending blatant, obvious lies so long as they comport with his skeptical view of global warming.

Hans, as an actual climatologist, I would think that you could muster up a more substantive argument than defending Laborde's incredibly lame attempt to cover up his lie.

Excellent piece on the Wall Street Journal coverage of the hockey stick, Mr. Thacker.

But I believe you gave them far more benefit of the doubt than they deserve when it comes to bias.

The WSJ, oil companies like Exxon-Mobil, the Bush administration and the Republican controlled Congress are like a giant echo chamber in which only the members of their exclusive club are allowed to speak. The club members just can't get enough of their own voices echoing back to them.

Jack Lacton,

We have been told to get a life by no less than WILLIAM SHATNER, and you, sir, are no William Shatner!

Phoenix Woman and JB,

I agree with you that up till now the lies have been gotten away with. In the long term, the lies will not be gotten away with.

My point was this specific case, and I think it's far too early to say the lies have been gotten away with here since they were only just exposed.

I have a general theory, with apology to Chaucer: scumbaggery will out.

(I made grammar cry today.)

Go easy on Hans, guys. It's obvious he has severly limited ability to express himself in English. Also, if he's an actual climatologist it would seem his ability to think in Dutch isn't so good either.

Treat him as you would a child. Seriously. Treating him seriously isn't smart. He's using a negative psychomarketing campaign tactic.

Axiom --- one word = one unit of energy expenditure. There's some truth there. Go to any Deltoid thread Hans has posted to. Total up his word count, then do a seperate total word count for everyone responding to him. That data says he is very energy efficient, his responders are very energy inefficient.

By SkookumPlanet (not verified) on 21 Sep 2006 #permalink

If anyone is interested, I have several spare lives, some slightly used but still in good condition, and two new, still in the package with all warranties still applicable, available for a reasonable price.
E-mail me if you are interested in purchase.

The inequality is because Jeff Harvey is writing so much :-)

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 21 Sep 2006 #permalink

To be frank, I didn't even read Paul Thackers new piece, I don't care what he writes about George Bush, or any american politician. I do know that Paul Thacker mischaracterised Stephen McIntyre.

BTW I second the suggestion of John Cleese that The USA should return under the wings of the queen of England.


Declaration of Revocation
by John Cleese
To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.

- snip -

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon -- get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by
adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 21 Sep 2006 #permalink

Unlike with some ideologues, we don't need anyone to make a parody character for Hans.



Tim, if'n it's not too much trouble, can you enable 'title' in [a] tag? Thank you.




Unlike you, I actually publish my research in scientific journals. I'll give McIntyre a little credit in that at least he's got a few papers in science journals. On the down side, a few papers does not make one credible. He's got a long way to go, and apparently judging by his age and lack of support amongst statured scientists, not a whole lot of time to do it.

A piece of advice for you, too. If you are so interested in finding the truth about climate science, in addition to writing some papers on the subject, why not go to some international conferences attended by bonafide scientists who do research and publish it in rigid journals. Hanging out with the likes of Baliunas et al. ad nauseum at a pseudos conference in Scandanavia ain't gonna cut it.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 21 Sep 2006 #permalink


a) conference fee
b) airfare
c) hotel accomodation.

If I hadn't been invited to Stockholm I would not have attended. BTW Sally wasn't in Stockholm.

And you weren't in Amsterdam. Did you follow up my reference (Goscinny & Uderzo,1979)?

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 22 Sep 2006 #permalink

Thank you for the Cleese research, I'd wish you would do likewise on Michael Mann or on proxy archives.

dano, your "linky" doesn't work forme.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 22 Sep 2006 #permalink


What Jeff is too nice to say is that your widdle writings on your cute website mean nothing - who cares, IOW.

Why? Real people doing real research use search engines like ISI, and your cutesy website isn't linked to ISI.

As a result your blockbusters like "Arrhenius was wrong because he had jelly on the ' . ' key on his calculator, so his calculations were wrong" will never see the light of day (except for scientific explorers like 'bandwidth' bender and other screeching monkeys, but hey).

Thus this blockbuster knowledge that you have to share languishes like the dog poop in your backyard: it smells for a couple of days, but - eh - it eventually disappears.

All scientific evidence is like this. People who don't notice that Google doesn't have a 'wisdom' button think Daly or see-oh-too are just wonderful can't tell that the purty language on non-science websites is used to persuade dupes, not convey scientific evidence.

Hope this helps,


In my own time Dano, I am doing this pro deo, remember?

Patience is a virtue. Peer review is a very slow process.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 22 Sep 2006 #permalink

look up: pro deo

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 23 Sep 2006 #permalink

It upsets me to think that I've just accidentally read another one of Hans' idiotic comments but ... Hans the meaning you intend for pro deo is a degenerative one valid in the Netherlands but not elsewhere. Your English is very good, nonetheless you've stuffed up again.

Hans, I think you mean "pro bono".

By Meyrick Kirby (not verified) on 23 Sep 2006 #permalink

Ah I see - Pro Deo:

English meaning: "For God"

Dutch meaning: "For free"

By Meyrick Kirby (not verified) on 23 Sep 2006 #permalink

In my own time Dano, I am doing this pro deo, remember?

Didn't Ratzinger just dudgeon on about all that Reason stuff? I thought you were after scientific...ummm...er...scientific...heeeey...

OOOOOHHHHH! (snaps fingers) I get it Hans! No wonder you project your wish to discredit physical principles! God frowns on physics!



I don't wish to comment on anything else in this thread, but want to point out that it is Queen Elizabeth the second of the United Kindgom of Great britain and Northern Ireleand and some associated small rocks around the world. England is simmply the largest bit of it.

Pro deo?
Pro bono?
Pro dano??

indeed I meant pro bono, mea culpa.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 25 Sep 2006 #permalink