Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Let the scrubbing begin

The White House website is one of the few good things about the Bush administration. It has a very clean layout, easy to find things, and mostly accurate transcripts are posted extremely promptly.

But now. The news page used to have a very nice box on the left called "News by Date" with all the material organized by month since January 2001. So one could focus an open-ended search very quickly once you knew what period you were looking for. For example, finding out exactly what Bush's demands to Saddam were right before the invasion was just a scroll through the March 2003 pages. However, the links to months prior to 2006 have been removed from the current website. All the underlying material is still there and of course the search engine still works. But what's gone is the ability to do a chronological survey of Bush's statements and positions without some extra work.

One crude fix is to type the url
[year as 4 digit number, month as 2 digit number]. There is some chance the policy is not intentional as sometimes the original full menu of months does display, so there may be a html/Javascript innocent explanation for what is going on.

This is as good a time as any to make our recommendation that the first order of web business of the Clinton or Obama presidency should be to leave all the current website material untouched, because referring back to Bush's positions and precedents is going to be an important part of keeping the press corps reminded of what they accepted in the Bush years.

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