Letter in Skeptic, vol. 11, no. 4 (2005), pp. 31-32

[This letter appeared in Skeptic without attribution, but I'm the author. I sent this in response to the e-Skeptic newsletter and it was originally published there.]

While I agree in general with the points raised in Dylan Otto Krider's piece, I have a few quibbles. He describes White House interference with the EPA as "government meddling," even though the EPA is itself a government agency. I think it would be more accurate to describe the situation as allowing partisan politics to interfere with scientific conclusions.

Krider also refers to Spinsanity, which he calls "a self-described government watchdog website." That is a somewhat misleading description that I haven't ever seen on their site and cannot find now. Spinsanity.com is a non-partisan site that evaluated public political dialogue in the U.S., primarily as it appears in the mass media, and documents examples of deceptive "spin." Its principals are not Bush supporters, and their excellent book, All the President's Spin, contains a well-documented chapter that is highly critical of Bush's abuses of science. As the book carefully documents, what he has done to science is just a small part of his PR activity, using "a willingness to engage in day-to-day dishonesty on nearly every major issue he has addressed."

Finally, Krider complains about the Bush administration "letting National Park Service gift shops sell books with the alternative view that the Grand Canyon was formed in seven days." The NPS does not run the Grand Canyon gift shops; they are run by a private organization under contract with the NPS, the Grand Canyon Association, which has operated since 1932.