Blogging really only became a communications whirlwind when President George W. Bush was in the White House so, for the most part, science blogger outrage focused on his actions as President, and those of the Republican Congress.

Criticisms of Bush were so prevalent it seemed like Republicans must be anti-science because so many Democratic science bloggers said so (and there were no Republicans in science blogging to dispute it), with charges of reports being edited and various unpopular (and later, it turned out, not evidence-based) restrictions on areas like human embryonic stem cell research.

But Bush has been gone for almost two years and if science bloggers are as objective as they claimed they were being about Bush, they aren't going to like the news that the White House has edited science reports to read more like what they want - just like Bush did.  

Scientists and the audience here may not recall the science blogger outrage when the Bush White House edited science reports to read more like what they wanted but I certainly do.   And with good reason.  Scientists who want to be trusted guides on important science issues that impact policy decisions need to know their names will not be used in a deceitful way to further a political agenda.

Pres. Obama's energy adviser, Carol Browner, went on national TV and cited the government analysis they had edited about where the oil from the BP Gulf Oil spill went, saying it showed most of the oil was gone.   And that wasn't the end of it, the revised paper was also backed up by the implication scientists had recommended a moratorium on deep-water drilling, even though they had said nothing of the kind - the administration had edited the drilling safety report because that is what they wanted it to say and then attached the reputations of their expert panel to it.

After a reviewer complained about the changes, the Interior Department promptly issued an apology but all seven experts who reviewed the edits said they were concerned about the changes made by the White House because the changes were different in important ways from the draft they approved.

Who did they write to express that concern about keeping science free of political interference?  A Republican, Gov. Bobby Jindal, which shows us how topsy-turvy things can get, to whom they said, "The secretary should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct, but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions."

"Their estimates always seemed to be biased to the best case," Joseph Montoya, a biology professor at Georgia Tech, told Dina Cappiello of the Associated Press about government efforts to manipulate the work.  "A number of scientists have experienced a strong push back."   An event AP regards as "threatening to stain the Obama administration's reputation for relying on science to guide policy."

But who will call them out on it the way science bloggers did with Bush?

The administration response was that no federal rules were violated, which is government doublespeak for an ethical breach that won't get them arrested, but one thing is clear; the war on science was never limited to one political party.   Until science becomes a strategic reference in policy issues that rely on data and not a resource to be exploited when the data is convenient, whichever party is in power will exploit scientists, to the detriment of us all.   Just don't look for science bloggers to object the same way when Obama does it as they did about Republicans.