Congress, Media Distort Censorship Issue

Published April 1, 2007

In an ironic twist to the ongoing persecution of state climatologists who doubt global warming alarmism, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on January 30 held hearings at which the Democratic leadership and environmental activists assailed the Bush administration for purported interference with and attempted suppression of scientists whose views were not considered in line with the administration’s climate change policy.

Testimony from two activist organizations that have been regular critics of the Bush administration–the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Government Accountability Project (GAP)–was prominently featured in the hearings.

Dubious Survey

The UCS presented findings from a survey of more than 1,600 government scientists at seven federal agencies. Seventeen percent–279 government scientists–responded to the survey.

Of those who responded, roughly 40 percent indicated they felt pressured to eliminate references to global warming from their work or had had their work edited in ways that changed its meaning.

Committee chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-California) argued at the hearing that the evidence indicated the Bush administration had attempted to “mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming.” Waxman called the alleged actions an “orchestrated campaign to mislead the public about climate change.”

With no Bush administration officials invited to participate, no one at the hearing raised the point that those scientists who responded to the survey were a self-selecting group. The one independent scientist who was allowed to testify argued that scientists are more likely to join or cooperate with groups that agree with their point of view, so the survey results released by the UCS should come as no surprise.

Biased Coverage

The Associated Press, along with most major newspapers, including USA Today, the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times, covered the hearings, publishing numerous editorials condemning the administration’s alleged attempts at censoring or suppressing climate research.

Very few newspapers have covered the explicit attempts at censorship of state climatologists and attempts by global warming alarmists to remove them from their offices.

— H. Sterling Burnett