Boffey, Philip M. "Experts Protest Bland Tone of Homeless Study," Albany Times Union, 20

 

Boffey, Philip M. "Experts Protest Bland Tone of Homeless Study," Albany Times Union, 20
September 1988, pp. 1, A7.

Ten of 13 experts on homelessness who wrote a report for Congress through the National
Academy of Science have strongly protested the final report submitted - in their name - to
Congress. It would appear that their document was censored by the National Academy and by
Frank Press, its president. Press is reported here to be saying that the original document was too
emotional and not in a "style typical to the Academy." He, therefore, felt compelled to put it in
the proper style.

Press is quoted as saying that the revised and bowdlerized report is "terrific as it stands." Yet
clearly, the 10 experts did not feel that the report was "terrific." They issued their supplement to
the published report because the Academy's official document left out the very thing they wanted
included: their disgust at homelessness.

This is a fascinating insight into the operations of the Academy and the charges it gives to its
scientists. Apparently, one must pretend to leave values out of science, pretend to be unemotional
and uninformed in the search for truth. But seldom is one more passionate than in the search for
truth and it is government itself which here obscures the truth by its censorship. Here scientists
are being told how to report their facts.

The experts are quoted: "We felt continuously uneasy in our inability to state the most basic
recommendation: homelessness in the United States is an inexcusable disgrace and must be
eliminated." Why should they not feel uneasy when they can't deliver a simple message like that?
I wonder how many other bland documents have been produced by the Academy?