Smithsonian’s partnerships should be focus

With no apparent sense of the ironies involved, congressional Democrats have been holding highly politicized, extremely one-sided hearings on allegations that the Bush administration relies on highly politicized, one-sided science in policy decisions.

The Climate Change Inquisition is about to shift its focus to the venerable Smithsonian Institution, which stands accused of the usual heresy — quibbling about humanity’s culpability in global warming in a recent exhibit on the Arctic.

A policy response to climate change has been “delayed significantly by a concerted effort to deny the scientific consensus regarding the dangers of climate change,” says Grand Inquisitor Edward Markey, D-Mass., who chairs the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which will be holding hearings on the situation.

“It would be a tragedy if one of our nation’s most revered scientific institutions were somehow complicit in this activity.”

But everyone involved says the White House had no role in the exhibit’s not-alarmist-enough wording — even the disgruntled former employee who brought the issue to Congress’ attention. Acting Smithsonian Secretary Cristian Samper said in a response to Markey that the museum “would never alter an exhibition on global climate change that would contradict our own knowledge and research, and that of other leading scientists around the world.”

Museum spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas told The Washington Examiner that suitably alarmist rhetoric wasn’t used because “this particular exhibit didn’t deal with greenhouse emissions.”

What we found much more troubling, and more compelling as evidence of politicized science at the Smithsonian, has become a footnote to this story. The Examiner reports that “the Natural Resources Defense Council said it considered co-sponsoring the climate change exhibit for $100,000 at the Smithsonian’s request in 2005. But the environmental group objected to the tone of the exhibit and its uncertainties on future warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

The NRDC obviously declined to help underwrite the exhibit because it didn’t include the confidently alarmist tone the group favors. But that one of the world’s most radical environmental groups was even considered as a partner in a Smithsonian exhibit is the really shocking revelation — and this should be the focus of Markey’s congressional hearings. That it won’t be shows the hypocrisy and double standard behind Congress’ crusade against “politicized science.”