09 June, 2005

All your "based on" are belong to them

A couple days ago, reporters questioned U.S. presidential spokesman Scott McClellan about a report from the Government Accountability Project that claimed the White House had a former oil lobbyist edit its science documents about climate change -- giving him a chance to wordsmith the prose after scientists had already gone through it for accuracy. Mr. McClellan did not deny that the editing took place. Instead he said,
These reports should always be based on our scientific knowledge and what is the best available science. And that's what we expect. And that's what those reports are based on.
I don't know about you, but when I hear "based on," the only thing that comes to my mind is made-for-TV movies: based on a true story.

By the way, it's worth clicking to that press conference to see something amazing and strange -- reporters really grilling the guy. They stuck to this one and wouldn't let him weasel. Of course, the resulting story was pretty wimpy. (I had typed "stories were" but then found nothing in the LA Times, nothing in the Washington Post, nothing on NPR, and who would even ask about TV news?)

UPDATE (33 minutes later) The dude behind me at this Internet cafe was talking loud on his mobile phone so I overheard him tell someone that "Chris Mooney had already posted the climate story on our blog" so I googled that name and found this interesting story. Apparently this is not the first time the NY Times has busted Bush screwing science. Thank the tech-god for loud phones and quiet cafes.

UPDATE 2 (77 minutes later) The LA Times does mention the story today, here. You've got to appreciate the note that the new EPA chief is "the first scientist to head" the agency.

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