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Stimulus Watchdog Earl Devaney Doesn't Appreciate Internet Criticism One Bit

4:38 PM, Mar 23, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Stimulus watchdog Earl Devaney has taken to his blog to clear up some "misconceptions" about the stimulus bill— "misconceptions" that came to light, oh, about a year ago. No word on why he's using a Pony Express time table to respond to criticism or how that might reflect on his ability to accurately chart where $900 billion dollars is flowing daily into nooks and crannies all over the country. I'll leave that to your judgment for the moment.

I have no problem with the chairman clearing the air on what he thinks was misreading of bad data. The press and people learning to parse government data is as much of a learning process as the government learning to actually deliver accurate data, and Devaney's more than welcome to offer guidance. Although, it'd probably be more helpful if he did it less than a year after the fact.

It'd also be helpful if he kept an unfailingly civil tongue when dealing with critics. After all, it is the dispersed expertise and power of the Internet (both press and regular citizens) that will push the government to get better at what it's doing. Which is, by the way, something it should already have been doing, since it's our money they're spending.

It doesn't engender confidence when the head of the transparency board uses this tone to start his "clear the air" piece:

Over the past year, the Recovery Board has received its share of gratuitous criticism from some journalists and Internet grouches.

Nonetheless, feel free to read Devaney's points, some of which are legitimate gripes, but most of which are spin-like clarifications and a bit whiny. But we meddling "grouches" have already hurt his feelings once, so the least we can do is listen, huh?

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