Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New TVA spokesman facing questions about last job, at NASA amid climate-science controversy

The Tennessee Valley Authority's new spokesman was brought in to help the organization regain credibility after the Kingston, Tenn., coal-ash disaster in 2008, but questions about his performance at his previous job with NASA have followed David Mould to Tennessee. A 2008 report from NASA's inspector general includes several mentions of Mould in reaching its conclusion that the agency's public-affairs ofice "managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate-change science," Anne Paine of The Tennessean reports.

Mould says the NASA conflict began before he arrived in 2005 and was caused by tension between scientists, "who couldn't tolerate announcements they wrote on their findings being edited for clarity, and public relations officers, who could be lousy editors," Paine writes, quoting Mould: "When I got to NASA, I found a lot of cases where the science people and the communications people were at each other's throats over some kind of editing mistake or another. Quite often they were fast to label anything they disagreed with as some kind of political thing, which it was not. I'm not saying there was never any whatsoever."

The inspector-general report concludes the "preponderance of the evidence" did "point to politics inextricably interwoven in the Headquarters Office of Public Affairs' news dissemination." Mould described the report to Paine as a sloppy, unsubstantiated and a waste of taxpayer money. TVA CEO Tom Kilgore told Paine that he was aware of some of the NASA issues when Mould was hired, but saw nothing to concern him. (Read more)

No comments: