Science, Politics And Liars

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Science & TechnologyLeave a Comment

A week or two ago, the New York Times reported about a NASA climate scientist who claimed he was stifled by the Bush Administration:

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Hansen’s nemesis was George Deutsch, a NASA public affairs guy appointed by Bush, who prevented Hansen from speaking about global warming on NPR.  According to reports, Deutsch called NPR "the most liberal" media outlet in the country, and said his job was "to make the president look good".

Last October, Deutsch created a controversy by insisting that the word "theory" be inserted in the NASA website following the words "Big Bang" wherever they appeared.

So, again, politics trumps science.

Fortunately, there’s a happy twist to the story.  Deutsch has been outed as a liar:

I investigated this further, and through the Association of Former Students, I learned that George Deutsch never graduated from Texas A&M, and the last record of him was from June 9, 2004, when he withdrew.

At this point, while I am unaware of whether Deutsch graduated from college at all, it is clear that he did not graduate from A&M, and he may have intentionally misled people to believe that he did. The idea that NASA let a 24-year-old journalism major, with no experience in science or technology, other than writing a few articles about video games, determine what scientists were able to communicate to the public was pretty bad. The fact that he was censoring scientific information on global warming and the big bang made things more interesting, especially since he was a political appointee doing this to prevent challenges to the Bush administration’s policies. But now, finding out that he did not even graduate from Texas A&M, and may not have graduated from college at all, is absolutely outrageous. George Deutsch, as I wrote before, needs to be removed from this post immediately.