A Few Examples-And Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Revolution #3, May 22, 2005, posted at revcom.us


On March 9, 2001, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the White House an official memo titled "Global Warming Science is Compelling," stating that "the science is strongest on the fact that carbon dioxide is contributing, and will continue to contribute to global climate change." Four days after the memo was issued, and in direct contradiction to the findings of the scientists, Bush flatly stated that "given the incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the cause of, and solutions to, global climate change," it was okay for the government to reconsider limits on power plant discharges of carbon dioxide. Bush political officials completely edited out the phrase "global temperature much warmer than average" in a 2003 press release headline from the governmental scientific agency responsible for climate science.

Frank Luntz, a top Republican strategist, was quoted in Critical Inquiry saying, "The scientific debate is closing against us... Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue."1 In other words, Luntz is advocating deliberately lying to the public.

Dr. James E. Hansen, a climate expert and director of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, told the New York Times , "[Bush's approach to global warming science is] something I've been worrying about for months. If I don't do something now, I'll regret it... [They're] picking and choosing information according to the answer that they want to get."


In an unprecedented rejection of recommendations by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), a high-ranking FDA official, under White House pressure, declared the emergency contraceptive Plan B "not approvable" for nonprescription status, overturning the recommendations of his own staff and two independent FDA scientific advisory committees that overwhelmingly declared it safe. Plan B has nonprescription status in 33 countries, and this is crucial as emergency contraceptives are more effective the sooner they are taken after intercourse. Plan B's switch to nonprescription status in the United States was also endorsed by some 70 scientific organizations.


A panel of six leading ecologists recommended that wild salmon be distinguished from hatchery-raised fish in determining protection of the Coho salmon as an endangered species—because hatchery fish quickly "lose their ability to survive in the wild." Lead panelist Robert Paine, a world-renowned ecologist, told UCS, "The members of the panel were told to either strip out our recommendations or see our report end up in a drawer," and the central recommendation was deleted from the final report.


Dr. Sharon Smith, an expert on Arctic marine ecology and a nominee to the Arctic Research Commission whose mandate covered the debate on oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), was directly asked, "Do you support the President?" On answering that she did not support Bush's economic and foreign policies, the interview abruptly ended and she was removed from consideration immediately. Nobel prize winner in medicine Torsten Wiesel was rejected for a scientific advisory position at the National Institutes of Health because he had "signed too many full-page letters in The New York Times critical of President Bush." On the other hand, Dr. David Hager, a Christian fundamentalist who recommends treating PMS with prayer and who refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women, was appointed to the FDA scientific advisory panel with oversight on all reproductive health matters, including emergency contraceptives—regardless of his lack of scientific research experience.


1. "Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam?" Bruno Latour. April 5, 2004. Critical Inquiry, Volume 30, Number 2, Winter 2004.

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