Fueling public fears

Obama administration tried to hide truth from Americans about oil spill

 

The self-described most-transparent administration in history has again been caught in a rather significant lie.

Remember, this is a president who promised during the campaign to televise health care reform negotiations on C-SPAN, and then was happy enough to see them go behind closed doors -- even bypassing the normal House-Senate conference committee process. What we got, as opposed to a bill everyone had seen and heard, was a bill no one had read.

Now a report says the Obama administration cynically and shamefully hid the truth about flow estimates during the BP oil spill.

"Government scientists wanted to tell Americans early on how bad the BP oil spill could get, but the White House denied their request to make the worst-case models public," write Renee Schoof and Margaret Talev of McClatchy Newspapers, citing the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Consider that for a moment. This White House tried to hide the extent of the spill from the public -- notably from people along the coast whose livelihoods hung in the balance.

The Bush administration can be faulted for acting ploddingly after Hurricane Katrina, but this administration was just as inept if not more in the oil spill -- and, much worse, has now been found to have hidden the truth from its citizens about the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon well.

"The staff paper," writes McClatchy, "said that underestimating the flow rates 'undermined public confidence in the federal government's response' by creating the impression that the government was either incompetent or untrustworthy. The paper said that the loss of trust 'fuels public fears.'"

The administration's dishonesty also had an adverse impact on the government itself: According to the report, "the failure to have an accurate flow rate slowed the response and lulled Obama administration officials into a false belief that the spill would be controlled easily."

This story probably won't have legs, as they say, because it's a narrative that's destructive to a Democratic administration that the majority of the national media desperately want to protect. But if it were a Republican administration, you can bet the nightly news would be full of this story for days on end. It would be called a scandal.

We await word now on why it shouldn't be.

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Thu, 12/08/2016 - 23:05

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