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Muting and muzzling.

Byline: The Register-Guard

For years, the Bush administration has worked relentlessly behind the scenes to politicize science - so much so that interference has become the rule rather than the exception.

The Associated Press reported this week that the White House heavily edited testimony on global warming delivered to Congress by Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How heavy-handed was the Bush team's editing? As one CDC official told The AP, Gerberding's original draft "was eviscerated" - cut from 12 pages to six - before it was cleared for presentation to the Senate Environment and Works Committee

Among other things, White House officials scratched portions detailing how global warming could affect the health of Americans and suggesting the government has yet to fully respond to the potential risks posed by climate change.

In one deleted section, Gerberding predicted that areas in the northern United States "will likely bear the brunt of increases in ground-level ozone and associated airborne pollutants. Populations in Midwestern and Northeastern cities are expected to experience more heat-related illnesses as heat waves increase in frequency, severity and duration."

Another deletion listed specific health impacts. The list included the effect of more frequent hot spells on vulnerable populations, the impact of extreme weather, more air pollution in drought areas and the greater likelihood of vector-borne and waterborne diseases, as well as mental health problems.

Such arrogant disregard for truth is nothing new for this administration, which regards science as a political tool that can be adjusted like a monkey wrench to fit its ideological and political agendas.

Nor does the White House have the slightest hesitation about giving Congress an incomplete picture of the health impacts of global warming at a time lawmakers are seriously considering mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

As for the American public, the White House doesn't believe it needs to worry about what climate change bodes for public health - especially if the brunt of those problems won't occur on Bush's watch.

So adept is this administration in the art of muting, muzzling and manipulating that Gerberding should consider herself fortunate she was left with six pages of watered-down testimony instead of none.
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Title Annotation:Editorials; White House edits the testimony on climate change
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 25, 2007
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