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University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: June 26, 2003
Latest Update: June 28, 2004

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Site Teaching Modules Jason Blair and President Bush and Us

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.

This exercise is drawn from a news flash on The National Wildlife Site on "Silent Spring: A Sequel?" By Les Line.

Need to explain the first Silent Spring. Then show some of birds disappearing and backup article.

  • Need to explain mathematical modeling and its effect on our environmental decision-making.
  • Need to point out that White House ordered falsified scientific information. Then compare that to Jason Blair. Hello! Is anyone listening?

    Look at the News Flash. . . Backup.

    Discussion Questions

    1. To what does Silent Spring refer? Who wrote it?

      The chirping of birds, the sound of living creatures living. Rachel Carson. Add links.

    2. Who wrote this article and why?

      National Wildlife Federation officers over concern for the President's disingenuineness over this issue.

      EPA Ditches Climate Change in Report

      "An internal Environmental Protection Agency memo shows how the White House insisted on altering the global climate change section of a soon to be released EPA report. Instead of making the White House's changes, the EPA decided to delete the climate change section altogether to avoid publishing information that is not scientifically credible. " 'The administration must be held to account for its stewardship of the environment,' said Mark Van Putten, president of the National Wildlife Federation. 'This document provides disturbing evidence of the administration's readiness to reject or spin scientific findings on crucial environmental issues that do not suit the White House's political agenda.' "

      From National Widelife Federation's Site. Newsflash.

    3. What was Jason Blair's "crime" that so upset journalism and the New York Times?

      He made up facts, copied some from others, and failed to check his sources. He was dishonest.

    4. What does the National Wildlife Federation site say that President Bush has done?

      Demanded that a government agency (EPA) falsify a report on environmental effects to have the report say what will support President Bush's environmental policy.

    5. What did the EPA do?

      Removed the environmental section of the report rather than publish "information that is not scientifically credible." "Not scientifically credible" is another way to say "disingenuous" or untruthful.

      Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

    6. How do you think we should feel about President Bush's action with the EPA, bearing in mind how we have all reacted to Jason Blair and to "minorities who take advantage of the system to be less than competent." Is President Bush incompetent to understand the environmental protection agency's policy, or was the request to falsify the report intentional? Is an intentional lie worse than a lie told to try to squirm out of a bad situation? Or is President Bush in a bad situation he's trying to squirm out of?

      Consider that Jason Blair's lies, coverups, etc. were attributed to minority incompetence, even though the New York Times tried to avoid saying that. To what should we attribute President Bush's demand for falsifying a report? Was President Bush's action, or the action of the White House in his name, legal? Was it moral? We'll discuss this in the Agencies Class this Fall. jeanne