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Thread: Science reporting getting even worse?

  1. #1 Science reporting getting even worse? 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    A Daily Mirror headline (reported by RealClimate) illustrates how hard it is to get good science from the media. (Sea levels were far lower during the ice age, not higher as the headline indicates but you knew that.)

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-sto...5875-21029395/

    CNN recently disbanded their scientific team to place science reporting in the hands of political pundits.

    If we are going to get our science from the Mirror and Lou Dobbs then we are in serious trouble.


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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    they obviously confuse the sea level rise at the start of the Holocene with the sea level during the latest ice age

    the reason for the misunderstanding is that newspapers are usually written and more often than not edited by people with degrees in humanities, politics or literature, who know little or nothing of science

    in fact they're the type of people who wear their ignorance of maths and science proudly on their sleeve, as a sort of badge of honour - in fact, they misunderstand science to the extent that they think it's merely a set of random facts rather than a system of perceiving how the world fits together


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I've been jostling the ideas around in my head, but I'm afraid putting science reporting and the Daily Mirror in the same context just will not work for me. I doubt it is getting any worse. I think it has always been bad. Frankly. I think most reporting is fairly abyssmal. I've rarely seen a report on something I now something about that is satisfyingly accurate. This tends to diminish my confidence in what I'm told about the things I don't know anything about.
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  5. #4  
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    Not sure it's getting worse - it has been so poor. Consider it from the 4th estate's perspective - I need a story that sells, so they're interested inn the sensational and simple minded in each story. It speaks to the press in all contexts not just science - there is no credibility.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    The media outlets run a BUSINESS. Of course accuracy isn't much of a concern. Sensational = viewers | readers = profits.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman SuperflyTNT's Avatar
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    The fact is only intelligent people know the media are wrong. There are billions of idiots of people out there who believe what the media tell them too. Its a sad story I'm afraid. And education really is the way to go. Without it, you might as well be dead. Or a news reporter.
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  8. #7  
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    lol media needs to make a living too.

    no but seriously the guy above me is right.

    most of the time the media exaggerates the stories to make it interesting.
    and some stories are fake.

    look at fox news.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    It all goes back to William Hearst in the early days of the News Paper conglomerate “You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war.”
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  10. #9  
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    It is saddening that newspapers are getting rid of the there science journalists.

    But to be fair, they have a really hard job. The average adult has the science knowledge of a 6th grader. And it’s the role of the journalist to act as a translator between higher specialized researchers and the general public. Not only do they have to explain the science but they have to motivate the reader, and convince the reader that they should care. This is made harder by the fact that the journalist usually is not an expert in the subject matter themselves.

    Most of the time (Fox News and their kin excluded) these reporters try to get the facts right. If time permits the often asks scientist to fact check, but this is not always possible. And personally, I could care less if they get a fact wrong here and there, as long as they are motivating people about a particular subject.
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  11. #10  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    never mind whether the science writer gets it right - once the sub-editor has given it the treatment, his contribution is quickly reduced to the level of understanding of that sub-editor, or what the sub-editor thinks the public will understand
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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