New York Times Profiles Bush Administration Science Adviser
The New York Times on Tuesday profiled Dr. John Marburger, President Bush's science adviser and the director of the Office of Science and Technology, who has "become the first line of defense against accusations that the Bush administration has systematically distorted scientific fact and stacked technical advisory committees to advance" preferred environmental and biomedical research policies. Marburger, a physicist and former director of the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, N.Y., has said that any such detected pattern is illusory and that from "all the evidence I can find, it's certainly not true that science is being manipulated by this administration to suit its policy." However, according to the Times, a large group of scientists, "to a degree not seen in previous administrations," is "express[ing] dismay at White House science policy" (Glanz, New York Times, 3/30). Earlier this month a current member and a former member of the President's Council on Bioethics charged that Chair Dr. Leon Kass has "skewed scientific facts in service of a political and ideological cause," according to a critique published online in the journal PLoS Biology. In February, a group of 60 scientists released a statement criticizing the Bush administration for suppressing or distorting scientific analyses from federal agencies when the data disagree with administration policies (California Healthline, 3/8). While Marburger has used his "credibility and communication skills" to handle "crises" in his past positions, "he is discovering that the forces of discontent focused on Washington are far less easily tamed," the Times reports. Dr. Lewis Branscomb, an emeritus professor of public policy and corporate management at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of the National Bureau of Standards under former President Richard Nixon, said, "I have a great deal of sympathy for [Marburger's] position because I don't believe he has the authority, the power, to go back into all the agencies and unearth all the facts about all these cases." In response to rumors that he might resign, Marburger said he was not considering it (New York Times, 3/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.