Take a closer look

When politicians talk about “the science,” they often limit discussion to their science. A long as we understand that, we can defend ourselves by checking more reliable sources.

But what happens when the politicians start tinkering with primary sources – with reports from government agencies most people consider to be objective and honest?

Even bearing in mind that the House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats who can set the agendas for committee investigations, a news report last week was disturbing. It involved an investigation by a House subcommittee chaired by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

Clyburn told The Associated Press that political appointees in President Donald Trump’s administration tried to block release of certain reports on the COVID-19 epidemic. The reports were from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 20-page letter from the committee to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield laid out accusations that efforts were made to block or alter more than a dozen CDC Morbility and Mortality Weekly Reports. In some cases changes in report language and delays in release were achieved, according to the letter.

Clyburn’s committee has not alleged the tampering resulted in release of dangerously inaccurate information – though the investigation remains in progress.

At some point, the full committee report needs to be made public – and members of the Republican-controlled Senate should open a parallel investigation.

Americans need to be able to rely on government agencies for accurate, unslanted information on a variety of subjects. Any threat to that simply cannot be tolerated.