Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

From TPM Muckraker comes this charming article listing all the stuff the Bush Administration doesn't want you to know: Bush Admin: What You Don't Know Can't Hurt Us, by Paul Kiel.

Among items the Bush Administration has decided to stop publishing or to reclassify as secret:

the Department of Defense has suddenly classified the numbers of attacks in Iraq for September through November of this year -- after providing the figures for every month since the war began. Why classify the information now? If there's a good explanation, we don't know it, and the Pentagon isn't returning our calls.

As others have noted, it's far from the first time that the administration has tried to deep-six data that was unhelpful to its goals. Over the years, they've discontinued annual reports, classified normally public data, de-funded studies, quieted underlings, and generally done whatever was necessary to keep bad information under wraps.

Wouldn't it be great to have all those examples in one place? Thankfully, Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report has started us off on that goal ...

Steve's list is quite helpful and constantly under revision as readers add their own stories of the Bush Administration's obsessive secretiveness. The theory appears to be that no news is better than bad news, so in the face of government incompetence, or mis, mal or nonfeasance, and in the face of unfortunate ecological consequences of present policies or disparate income impacts on ordinary people of Bush's tax cuts, the Administration's best option is to simply declare it all secret or to stop publishing the information. This is called the "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil" approach to public information, or the Sergeant Schulz Two-Step.

Here's the link to the Carpetbagger report: Keeping Iraq attack numbers under wraps

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