I’m shocked!

Yes, I’ve been around a long time, but I’m still shocked — by what we just learned about the Smithsonian.

There’s no institution more revered in Washington than the Smithsonian: its great museums, lining the Mall, all free to the public; its long reputation for scientific achievement. Unlike the Capitol or the White House, the Smithsonian is the one place in Washington where you can go to get the truth. Right?

Well, apparently not. At least, not any longer. A former Smithsonian official has revealed that last year’s exhibit on global warming was deliberately soft-pedaled, toned down, in order not to offend the Bush White House.

Scientific research conclusively shows that man-made activity is a major contributor to global warming. But, knowing President Bush might be upset by that — and might therefore cut back on the museum’s funding — Smithsonian officials changed their exhibit to conclude: Human activity a cause of global warming? Maybe yes, maybe no.

In other words, they distorted pure science — in order to play pure politics.

I’m shocked! Yes, at how heavy-handed the Bush White House is. But also at how spineless is Smithsonian’s leadership.

After all, if you can’t believe what you see at the Smithsonian … what can you believe?