I find these reports deeply disturbing:

Someone affiliated with the Department of Energy has been going back to make changes to press releases posted on the Internet weeks and months ago, CNBC has found.

The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program — the same program that has been the center of controversy surrounding the failed solar company Solyndra.

Both were changed to remove the name of a company that has received negative press attention in recent days, SunPower, and replace it with the name of another company, NRG Energy.

It’s troubling enough that we are sometimes misled by our government. There may be times where it becomes at least justifiable, particularly if there are concerns of national security or public safety. But the rewriting of history seems to take this to an entirely new level. The report on CNBC indicates that the governemnt blames it on an outside contractor, saying they were the ones to “modify” the press release. ANd the report further indicates that the press releases have been restored to their original versions.

But I’m concerned. I remember my mother telling me that people who lie about little things will lie about big things as well. We all know how quickly trust can be destroyed and how slow it can be to rebuild that trust. And it is not at all unrealistic to recognize that lying can become a habit, especially as one lie creates the need for other lies to help support or extend the originial lie.

I’m reminded of these lines from George Orwell’s 1984:

  • “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say this or that even, it never happened-that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.”
    – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3
  • “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'”
    – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3
  • “Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.”
    – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

Things to ponder.