"You don't have to burn books now," says Thomas. "You just press the delete key."
April 14, 2001 3:09 PM   Subscribe

"You don't have to burn books now," says Thomas. "You just press the delete key." Two unabashedly partisan reports of the Bush administration's clandestine campaign to "tighten up" anything from online government sources dealing with the development of Alaskan mineral resources. We've done the debate on Alaska, but what about the ability to amend online records? The old administration's sites are meant to be preserved by law, but plenty appears to have been deleted in the name of "polishing": "We changed value-laden words like 'destroy' to 'impact.'" Newspeak in action? Should government-run sites be required to carry a Changelog?
posted by holgate (7 comments total)
From the assistant director of regional affairs at the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Service:

We took down conclusions that were inconsistent with the new Administration," Boylan said, but "left the evidence for people to draw their own conclusions. Conclusions are not part of sound science."

Now, when I did school science, I seem to remember having to start each experiment with a "hypothesis" and end with a "conclusion". Was I badly taught?

Anyway, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.
posted by holgate at 3:16 PM on April 14, 2001

The article does an excellent job of highlighting the Bush administration's push to gut environmental protections, and their total contempt for the common man.

If you aren't big oil, big business, or the religious right you're going to get kicked to the curb over the next few years. Maybe Orwell got the date wrong. Maybe it should have been 2004 instead of 1984. Very sad. And rather scary.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:43 PM on April 14, 2001

Good to see informed follow-ups to the story. I hope this is getting noticed beyond the Net.
posted by aflakete at 8:41 PM on April 14, 2001

second verse, same as the first!

The administration in power gets to have a message. Period.

Hint to prospective writers: Using sledgehammer phrasing such as "...this administration is not merely pro-business; it actually appears to hold a grudge against the natural world," will severely limit the number of people that are going to take your writings seriously.
posted by aaron at 9:47 PM on April 14, 2001

"Using sledgehammer phrasing such as...."

Frankly I thought that was dead on.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:46 PM on April 14, 2001

Well, obviously you'd think that; you wrote it! :P Say, did you read that wonderfully intelligent and insightful post I made yesterday on that one other topic?

I'm not sure I'd say the article demonstrates the Bush administration's "contempt for the common man." The common man isn't an environmentalist -- at least, not when energy prices are on the rise.
posted by kindall at 11:04 PM on April 14, 2001

The administration in power gets to have a message. Period.

In which case, any agency with an ostensibly scientific character ought to carry a political disclaimer: "WARNING: this message subject to change every four years, not on any new evidence, but on who's calling the tunes." Makes the notion of a "permanent civil service" somewhat risible, yesno? At least in Britain we have the reassurance that the men at the ministry are quite prepared to leak, scheme and encourage Cabinet in-fighting to push their particular department's interests.

After all, if government scientists are now to be regarded as political shills, you might as well do away with the costly business of long-term research appointments, or, say, scientific qualifications. Which would, at least, allow the Bush administration to achieve those much-sought-after cuts in the environmental budget. Then again, it would be fitting, as the plan is to make Alaska as full of shit as the White House.
posted by holgate at 8:52 AM on April 15, 2001

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