Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Henry Jenkins

No Longer Searching for "Weapons of Mass Destruction"

I am not altogether sure what to make of this one. News is traveling through the blogsphere that the official White House web page has disabled certain terms in its search engine, among them “Iraq,” and otherwise made it more…

  • October 28, 2003

I am not altogether sure what to make of this one. News is traveling through the blogsphere that the official White House web page has disabled certain terms in its search engine, among them “Iraq,” and otherwise made it more difficult for citizens to get information about the administration’s previous positions and policies. The left wing interpretation is that the Bush folks want to make it harder for us to see exactly what he said about the justification for our entry into Iraq and thus to be able to map shifts in his rhetoric and position. I am sure the right has its own explanations for these changes in the search protocols on an important government site.

I am less interested ultimately about which theory is right than I am about what this debate says about our expectations concerning access to governmental information in the digital age. Interesingly, it was Republican Newt Gingrich, in pushing so hard for Thomas, the House of Representative’s website, that raised expectations about public access to governmental information on the Internet. How far does those expectations extend? Is it enough to put the documents on the web or do we expect them to develop and maintain powerful search engines which make them easy to find?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.