My new Think Again column is called “Think Again: The Fox Propaganda Train Rolls On" and it’s here.
My new Nation column is called “What’s the Story, Mr. President?” and it’s here.
And my Daily Beast column addresses the silliness that is the Michael Bloomberg for president discussion, here.
Now here’s Reed:
They Blinded Me With Science
This country’s scientific community is experiencing a number of dangerous shortages. First off, there’s the alarming underrepresentation of ethnic minorities and women in scientific fields. There’s also a looming scarcity of qualified computer scientists necessary to design and maintain our increasingly complex digital infrastructure. Even in clean and renewable energy technology, the US’s scientific edge over the rest of the world is rapidly eroding. But there’s one other shortfall that sprung to mind this week in lieu of this “dog bites man” revelation concerning Fox News’s ridiculous climate change equivocation: the startling deficiency in clear, concise and relevant reporting about science.
Scientists themselves have certainly noticed, as this Pew survey from last year shows.
“A substantial percentage of scientists also say that the news media have done a poor job educating the public. About three-quarters (76%) say a major problem for science is that news reports fail to distinguish between findings that are well-founded and those that are not. And 48% say media oversimplification of scientific findings is a major problem.”
Hmmm, injecting a false equivalence between unequal ideas or arguments because analyzing the details and explaining them is too hard, you say? Where have we heard that before? And let’s not kid ourselves that only Fox News does stuff like this. Lots of mainstream news organizations get sucked into repeating—willingly or not and without a hint of the hypocrisy involved—talking points like the previous administration’s odious phrase about policy being guided by “sound science.” Maybe it’s time that we in the media break free of the same rigidly objective approach when it comes to reporting on science as well?