Climate-controlled White House
The administration claims it wasn't telling scientists what to say about climate change; e-mails obtained by Salon prove otherwise.
Sept. 19, 2006 | WASHINGTON -- In February, there were several press reports about the Bush administration exercising message control on the subject of climate change. The New Republic cited numerous instances in which top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and scientists at the National Hurricane Center sought to downplay links between more-intense hurricanes and global warming. NOAA scientist Thomas Knutson told the Wall Street Journal he'd been barred from speaking to CNBC because his research suggested just such a link.
At the time, Bush administration officials denied that they did any micromanaging of media requests for interviews. But a large batch of e-mails obtained by Salon through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that the White House was, in fact, controlling access to scientists and vetting reporters. (The e-mails were provided to several members of Congress for comment; Rep. Henry Waxman's office has now published them here.)
The e-mails also show that after Hurricane Katrina, NOAA press officers had to get clearance from the Department of Commerce for scientists to discuss global warming and hurricanes with the press. (NOAA is part of Commerce.) Regarding the request for a particular interview, Commerce press officer Catherine Trinh wrote, "Let's pass on this one." The response from a NOAA official reads, "Can I please have a reason?"
In another message, Trinh writes, "Let's pass on this ... interview, but rather refer him to BLANK of the BLANK at BLANK. CEQ suggested him as a good person to talk on this subject." The blanks denote passages that were whited out by lawyers releasing the documents. [...]
house.gov: Rep. Waxman Releases Internal Commerce Department E-Mails on Climate Change