The administration continues it's obsession with censorship. For the record, Mr. President, we own the government. We own the agencies which you censor. We pay for them. We pay their research costs and we pay the salaries of the people who do the research. We deserve unfettered access to them and that "we" includes the free press, one of the democratic watch dogs in a functional republic. You seem to prefer a dysfunctional and undemocratic republic to which I say sir, "We own your ass, too."
So, I will end the suspense about the boss’s identity. The administrator is Nicole R. Nason, who took over on May 31, 2006, after she was appointed to the post by President Bush.
And it is she who put the big hush on one of the government’s most important safety agencies. I found this out recently when I asked to talk to an N.H.T.S.A. researcher about some technical safety issues in which he had a great deal of expertise. Agency officials told me I could talk to the expert on a background basis, but if I wanted to use any information or quotes from him, that would have to be worked out later with a N.H.T.S.A. official. The arrangement struck me as manipulative, and I declined to agree to it.
It seems that Ms. Nason has adopted a policy that has blocked virtually all of her staff — including the communications office — from providing any information to reporters on the record, which means that it can be attributed.
As an alternative I was told I could interview Ms. Nason on the record (instead of the expert on the subject of my article). I declined, failing to see how her appointment as administrator — she was trained as a lawyer — made her a expert in that subject.
When I said I would like to talk to Ms. Nason on the record about her no-attribution policy, she was not available.
The agency’s new policy effectively means that some of the world’s top safety researchers are no longer allowed to talk to reporters or to be freely quoted about automotive safety issues that affect pretty much everybody.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Oops, they did it again
But are we surprised? Snippet: