I read a disturbing editorial in the latest issue of "New Scientist" (Feb 3rd, 2007) which stated, and there is no reason to believe he is lying, that the Bush administration is deliberately covering up scientific results that might not agree with their political agendas, specifically anything to do with environmental problems or global warming.
Most governments, and this is true everywhere, regularly ignore scientific results. This, I think, is pretty normal. However, trying to cover up results, is a completely different thing. Tactics include, delaying press releases or canceling them completely, re-wording press releases to either sanitize them to reduce the impact, or make them too technical or bland to be understandable or even just changing the information completely.
If you want more details on this story, I suggest buying the magazine, it's well worth the read.
The thing that gets me about this is how dumb it is. Who exactly are they serving with this kind of behavior? Even if there was one single iota of usefulness in doing this kind of thing (I don't think there is), you'd think that they'd be smarter about it than this - after all, they've been caught doing it.
If the Bush administration were to simply ignore the scientific results like all the past governments, they would probably be treated like all the other past governments, i.e. they're politicians sure, but they aren't any more evil than lawyers. This way, they are worse than lawyers. I don't get it - why be so stupid?
I can think of a couple of reasons why you might NOT behave this way:
1. It's easier to let the scientific information flow. After all, you're just shooting yourself in the foot, since down the road, you're making your population more ignorant, and that's where your scientists come from in the first place.
2. Free flowing information makes people feel better and improves morale, after all, imagine the scientist who has this happening to him. What's he supposed to think? "This is the best government ever!" - I don't think so.
3. The more you lie, the more you have to keep your facts straight. Telling the truth is so much simpler, since you can then just let everyone verify your facts.
As I said, I can't think of a single good reason to do this. In the end, it's a lot harder to pull off than shooting straight. Una thought of something that hadn't occurred to me, but is an excellent point. With the Bush administration hiding scientific facts on global warming, it might explain why Al Gore decided to help push "An Inconvenient Truth" in 2006, since he's bound to know what the current administration is up to.
It isn't even a matter of saying, "Shame on you!" to Bush and his friends, but really, they deserve a, "What are you thinking?". It's a silly, transparent, ultimately self-destructive behavior.