Monday, March 19, 2007
Our old friend, George Deutsch, is getting a 30 second extension on his 15 minutes of fame … er … infamy. He got to testify at the House Oversight and Reform Committee chaired by Rep. Henry A. Waxman to the effect that, under the Bush administration, NASA had standard practices for keeping scientists in check:
Among those practices were that PAOs should listen to interviews as they’re being conducted, that superiors can do interviews in someone’s stead (known as the 'right of first refusal'), and that NASA employees should report interview requests to the Public Affairs office. In fact, one of my duties was to send out a daily email to senior NASA Public Affairs personnel known as 'On The Record,' in which I detailed the day’s media requests.Hired as a Public Affairs Officer for NASA when he was only 23 years old, Deutsch's "only previous experience was an internship for the George W. Bush reelection campaign and an assistant position on the Presidential Inaugural Committee" and he quit when it was revealed that he had lied on his resume about having a college degree. Mr. Deutsch certainly lived up to the lofty expectations his training engendered.
Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, also testified:
Hmmm. Did you just hear a loud noise ...In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it has now. Review and editing of scientific testimony by the White House OMB (Office of Management and Budget) seems to now be an accepted practice.
There is little doubt that the Administration’s downplaying of evidence about global warming has had some effect on public perception of the climate change issue. The impact is to confuse the public about the reality of global warming, and about whether that warming can be reliably attributed to human-made greenhouse gases.