Mudcat Café message #1382870 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1382870
Posted By: Amos
19-Jan-05 - 11:19 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Try this piece of newspeak on:

Groups Sue for Release of Administration Documents/Records on Censoring
Lincoln Memorial Video




Washington, DC Arguing that the Bush Administration is illegally withholding documents on its plans to cut scenes of gay rights, pro-choice and anti-war demonstrations from an educational video shown at the Lincoln Memorial, People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a lawsuit in federal court today to force the National Park Service to release the documents.


The groups allege that the documents demonstrate that Park Service officials were planning to change the videotape to satisfy the objections of right-wing organizations, and the lawsuit follows PEER and PFAWF's unsuccessful attempts to obtain the documents under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.


In November 2003, under pressure from right-wing organizations, the Park Service announced that it would alter an eight-minute video containing photos and footage of demonstrations and other historic events that have taken place at the Lincoln Memorial. These far-right organizations reportedly complained that brief seconds of footage showing gay rights, pro-choice and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations implied that "Lincoln would have supported homosexual and abortion 'rights' as well as feminism." In response, the Park Service is reported to have promised to develop a "more balanced" version of the videotape that has been playing at the Lincoln Memorial since 1995.


Alerted to these plans by concerned Park Service employees, PEER and PFAWF requested correspondence and other documents on the subject from the Park Service under FOIA. On January 16, 2004, the Park Service released press reports and a copy of the then-current videotape, but denied the remainder of the groups' request, claiming that even correspondence from outside organizations and members of Congress were internal, pre-decisional records and thus exempt from public records requirements. PFAWF and PEER appealed that denial of documents to the U.S. Department of Interior, of which the Park Service is a component, on January 28, 2004. After nearly a year, Interior has not responded. The groups determined that filing a lawsuit was the only remaining course.


"One of the basic tenets of democracy is that decisions are made in an open and transparent manner. If the Bush Administration wants to rewrite history on the basis of ideology then it should stand up and say so," said PFAWF president Ralph G. Neas. "Stonewalling the public is not an option."