The Fiddlin’ Foresters may live on, but their web site’s apparently defunct.
Monday morning, the U.S. Forest Service string band found itself in the unenviable position of being panned by President Obama. Not for its music, but for a web site that Obama held up as an example of a taxpayer-funded Internet presence in urgent need of pruning.
“Did you know that the federal government pays for a web site devoted to a folk music ensemble made up of forest rangers?” Obama asked in a video posted on the White House’s own site. The video then features a screen shot of the group’s site, accompanied by what is presumably a sample of the band’s playing.
“I’ll put their music on my iPod, but I’m not paying for their web site,” Obama continued. “And there are hundreds of similar sites that we should consolidate or just get rid of.”
A Google search quickly turned up fiddlinforesters.gov, but the url had vanished from a government server. A cached version described the four-member ensemble as “the official ‘old-time string band'” of the Forest Service, adding that “we are proud to bring conservation and stewardship messages alive through story and song to all who value natural and cultural resource conservation on America’s public lands.”
The site was up as recently as Friday, the cached version indicated. Asked today whether it has since been shut down because of Obama’s criticism, the Forest Service bounced the question to its parent agency, the U.S. Agriculture Department, where Press Secretary Matt Herrick had no answer Monday afternoon.