It seems that information on sexual health (condom use, teen sex, etc.) has been mysteriously disappearing from US government websites over the past year and a half. (NYT login: wrreaders)
There’s a predictable amount of debate about who decided to remove the information and why. In at least one case, a report on the absence of a link between abortions and breast cancer was removed at the express request of the co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus (well, no ulterior motive there, then). In the other cases, the excuse given for the information being whisked away is that it had to be "updated". For a year and a half.
While I really hate to watch myself jumping on the conspiracy theory bandwagon yet again, I cannot help but be suspicious here - because I know first-hand that this administration has removed scientific information from websites which went against its planned programs and policies. Case in point: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Back when drilling in the ANWR was still just a gleam in Shrub’s eye, I checked out the ANWR site and came across copious scientific information on the ecology of the refuge and the impact of oil exploration and drilling on this fragile environment. When Bush’s plans to drill became more publicized, I went back to the site to look at those reports again - and they were gone. In their place was a message saying that the government had requested that the information be removed from the site.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Call me naive, but I couldn’t believe how blatantly scientific information could be dismissed, or simply covered up, in the interests of promoting an agenda.
The information has since been put back up on the ANWR site - I guess because, for now, ANWR is safe - but it seems that the war on information goes on. Since the ANWR thing, we’ve gone through the whole Kyoto thing, which first saw Bush the Environmental Scientist denouncing the entire body of environmental research as "flawed", then requesting his own reports from the National Academy of Sciences and subsequently choosing to ignore them because they didn’t say what he wanted them to say.
And now we have this: what appears to be a gradual move towards denying people information that could save their lives because it clashes with the administration’s anti-choice/abstinence-only agenda.
Maybe I’m wrong. I sincerely hope I am. But somehow I can’t shake the ominous image of row upon row of people hunched over glowing computer terminals in little cubicles, carefully sifting through websites to hunt out and eradicate any information deemed to undermine this government’s objectives or mar the image of itself that it wants to portray. America’s very own Ministry of Truth.