Monday, May 15, 2017

What you aren't able to see can hurt you

The Washington Post has created an easily understood video explainer on the Trump administration's spreading practice of hiding or trashing government data that once was available for all to see.

Across the vast breadth of the government, agencies have traditionally provided the public with massive data sets, which can be of great value to companies, researchers and advocacy groups, among others. Three months ago, there were 195,245 public data sets available on, according to Nathan Cortez, the associate dean of research at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, who studies the handling of public data. This week it stood at just under 156,000.

Data experts say the decrease, at least in part, may reflect the consolidation of data sets or the culling of outdated ones, rather than a strategic move to keep information from the public. But the reduction was clearly a conscious decision.

[Nathan Cortez, the associate dean of research at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law] said the Obama administration increased the amount of government data offered to the public, although the information was at times incomplete or inaccurate and sometimes used as a “regulatory cudgel.” Under Trump, the government is taking transparency “in the opposite direction.”

The outrageous actions of our aspiring autocrat are often easier to track than what his minions are simply disappearing.


Rain Trueax said...

Right now to follow any of what's going on can literally drive a person as crazy as 'some' claim Trump is. For every fact like this, there'll be another saying money is being saved and all the data is consolidated to be more economical. How do we discern truth in such a time? Most of us aren't scientists. The ones who took power this year believe climate science is a hoax designed to forward the communist agenda...

On Facebook, do you have a 'friend' who shares all the fake news sites? I keep unfollowing and then adding again one of those to my FB. I bring her back because she has other things I am interested in her life, but she follows sites that offer alternative truths to everything else I can read anywhere. Not to say that, with a search, I can't read the same thing maybe as many as 20 places, but all from the same sources (one a previously chick-lit writer from England). The right wing has the same thing where they print ridiculous lies about say Michelle Obama, so far out that you'd think no one would believe them and yet they crop up many places.

I know the Washington Post isn't fake news as such, but they definitely have a side and throw out everything that could frighten or enrage those even on their own side. When Bezos took it over, it went from what I used to consider a newspaper to another partisan paper like Fox or MSNBC on TV. Now maybe the Post is right. It just gets to a point of wearyness (which might not be a word). The thing is the bombardment is constant. It was there attacking Obama the same way with stuff I considered ridiculous but many on the right did not. Are they trying to drive us all insane-- on both sides?

Hattie said...

Really, it is difficult to settle on a "truth" that is not contaminated with opinion. A futile quest.

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