AP Howler: BP Spill Handling a 'Stain' on Admin's 'Reputation for Relying on Science'

November 12th, 2010 10:42 AM

Thursday evening, NB's Ken Shepherd accurately pointed out how little establishment press interest there has been in prominently carrying an Associated Press report about how the Obama administration has been, in the words of the wire service's Dina Cappiello, "downplaying scientific findings, misrepresenting data and most recently misconstruing the opinions of experts it solicited."

This is not to excuse those who have given her report short shrift, but the AP and Cappiello herself did their level best to try to minimize the significance of what was to come in their headline and first paragraph, respectively:

Govt's handling of science on oil spill questioned


The oil spill that damaged the Gulf of Mexico's reefs and wetlands is also threatening to stain the Obama administration's reputation for relying on science to guide policy.

First, as to the "Please don't read this, it's really boring" headline:

  • This isn't about some abstract entity known as the "Gov't." It's about a presidential administration headed by Barack Obama and populated with environmental extremists like Carol Browner and Ken Salazar. The headlines during Hurricane Katrina were about "the government." No, they were about George W. Bush's alleged mishandling of the situation (which was in reality largely the fault of Louisiana's governor and the mayor New Orleans.
  • "Handling of science of oil spill" -- How about "misrepresenting facts of oil spill"?
  • "Questioned" -- What a weasel word. How about "criticized," "skewered," "condemned," or "faulted"?

As to the administration's "reputation for relying on science," since when?

To name just three examples:

  • The administration continues to push for radical controls over almost everything anyone does in the form of cap and trade legislation based on scientifically unsupported and largely discredited notions relating to supposedly human-caused global warming -- er, climate change -- oh, I meant climate disruption.
  • The administration continues to support life-destroying embryonic stem cell research when adult stem cell research is where virtually all meaningful medical progress has been achieved.
  • It deliberately modified the Bush administration's successful PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program for fighting AIDS in Africa to minimize and mostly exclude abstinence education, even though "No generalized HIV epidemic has ever been rolled back by a prevention strategy primarily based on condoms."

Cappiello's first paragraph attempts to tell readers that what follows in the rest of her report represents a rare exception. Sorry, ma'am, it's more like the rule.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.