Smithsonian Toned Down Global Warming Exhibit

You wouldn't expect a national symbol to be so lily-livered when American pride is practically busting from its seams. After all, the Smithsonian Institution isn't just any old museum—besides being the world's largest museum complex and research organization, it also houses both the Star-Spangled Banner and the Wright brothers' airplane. Yet "America's museum" continues to seemingly pander to the whims of its financiers, making it clear that cash—not the pursuit of knowledge—determines its agenda. Well, you know, allegedly speaking.

For GM's sake, the Smithsonian killed the electric car; now, a former museum director reveals that the Smithsonian toned down its global-warming exhibit, which ran from April to November of 2006, because it apparently feared displeasing Congress and the White House.Because the Smithsonian was allegedly leery of biting one of the hands that feeds it—the museum receives 70 percent of its funding from the government—it postponed the opening the global-warming exhibit for six months, while it tinkered with the exhibit's content, said Robert Sullivan, a former associate director for public programs at the National Museum of Natural History.

"It was to soften the exhibition, tone it down a little and make the science a little less certain, make it a little more cautious," he told AFP. "There was a concern that this was a controversial topic."

Sullivan said the exhibit, which focused on climate change in the Arctic as observed by scientists and local indigenous peoples, deliberately highlighted any scientific ambiguity in the data.

Although he admitted not taking part in the deliberations, and that neither Congress nor the White House made any outright requests, he said that the whole matter was "insidious." "It's never stated as a policy, but it's always kind of there, this kind of shadow. The knowledge is always there that you have to be careful, and that's recent, really in the last decade," he added.

The Smithsonian, meanwhile, denies everything. Color us surprised. :: AFP

See also: :: Smithsonian Kills the Electric Car

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