Are We Really Informed?
As citizens, it is important to be informed because it is the only true way we can make good decisions. If the truth is being kept by the government, it will be harder for the world to fix what is happening.
James E. Hansen, a climatologist at NASA, claimed that Bush administration restricted what he wanted to say about anthropogenic climate change. Hansen had spoken at a lecture the previous month saying that the world needed to cut carbon emissions and fast. Hansen spoke about what happened:
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.
As it is important for scientific findings to be publicized, it makes sense that the findings should be reported as much as possible. Hansen and his colleagues said that as a result of these restrictions, more interviews were canceled. A public affairs officer George Deutsch refused an interview that Hansen would have done with NPR. While on the phone Deutsch said that his main job was the make the president look good.
Hansen later said that he would ignore the restrictions that were placed on him. Hansen believes that the restrictions on what he can say prevent the public from fully grasping the idea of climate change. If Hansen is right, and the world is in danger, we have to know what is happening. According to Hansen, the world might be a different planet if we do not cut carbon emissions.
On the flip side, there is a big argument about whether this censorship is true or not. Dean Acosta, a deputy assistant administrator for public affairs, says that there was no effort to stop Hansen from speaking. He said that the reviewing everything was standard.
Why would Hansen want to make up this? If the censorship is true, that is a big problem that should be looked into. Who knows what else there might be that the world should know?