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Shoddy Reporting by WFTS

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
April 20, 2011
Filed under

I-Team: NASA losing large amounts of high-tech equipment, WFTS
“Former NASA employee Keith Cowing says NASA is losing more of its technology because the space shuttle program is ending and the agency is facing cutbacks. Cowing defends the agency, saying they shouldn’t worry too much about lost equipment, which he believes likely consists of mostly outdated items.”
Keith’s note: I did not say that at all. Rather I said that as the program shuts down and lays off people, offices are moved and closed, equipment is piled up and things get lost. The sudden increase in misplaced things most certainly coincides with people being laid off at KSC. I did not say that NASA is “losing its technology”. None of my frequent criticism of NASA’s inventory processes was included either.
They are mashing my words together utterly out of context. I won’t be doing an more video for Michael George or the I-Team. What a shoddy piece of gotcha editing. They only provided me with a very small list to review. They did NOT give me the 2 inch thick pile of lost items that – including the $100,000 editor gizmo – that the other person was allowed to review. They only gave me a little Excel file – here it is. Most of the items listed for me (again I did not have the other much longer list) had been traced to specific individuals or their loss/surplusing explained. At one point I asked whether it is in the best interest of taxpayers to pay someone’s time to go out and find a TV from 1992 that is probably broken by now. But they don’t tell you that, do they? You are left with the assumption that I had the benefit of the same data to review. I did not. Moreover, they did not include 99.999% of what I said on tape – only the last portion of a comment taken totally out of context.
Shoddy, crappy “reporting” (yea, I know the NASA Watch guy is complaining). That said, I urge people not to allow themselves to be interviewed by these folks – they will just edit your words into something you did not mean to say. They wanted a story that made NASA employees look inept and/or a bunch of petty crooks and that is what they aired. It is my fault for getting sucked into this.
These are the questions they asked me:

-Please tell us your name/spell your name
-Please tell us about your background, including your history with NASA and NASAWatch
-Our investigation found hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment going missing at NASA, does this surprise you?
-What do you think is happening to this equipment? Is theft an issue, or is it something else?
-If the items are still in the possession of NASA, why aren’t they being found by searches within the organization?
-Describe the storage and use of equipment at NASA. Are there improvements that could be made with regards to the care of equipment?
-When it comes to the management of equipment, is NASA an efficient organization?
-Is there anything in the list of lost items that surprised you?
-Does this indicate a problem that needs to be addressed?
-Some of the items are highly expensive radio/TV equipment. Considering NASA’s budgetary situation, is this significant?
-Any other thoughts?

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.