Why Is The News Media Comfortable With Lying About Science?

Great question, and it’s not only ABC News who screws science up royally. John Timmer writes on ars technica:

Media LiesThe year is only a couple of weeks old, but it’s already been a strange one for science news. With a steady flow of coverage on a huge range of complex subjects, it’s easy for things to go wrong, and for journalists to come up with material that doesn’t get the science right. But a few recent cases appear to involve news organizations that have gone out of their way to get a science story wrong. The news industry tends to respond badly to cases where people make up the contents of their stories—witness Jayson Blair and the fake Bush National Guard records. But, so far, the response to the recent science news-related events has been complete indifference.

The most egregious case seems to have happened at the UK’s Daily Mail, which ran an article in the Science and Technology section of its website entitled “The mini ice age starts here.” In it, the author argues that we’re due for decades of global cooling, driven by ocean currents that the article claims produced the last century’s warming—not greenhouse gasses. These facts are ascribed to impeccable scientific sources: the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, and Mojib Latif, a prominent climatologist based in Germany. A substantially similar story, with precisely the same attributions, later appeared on the Fox News site.

There was small problem here, though: Mojib Latif is still alive, and was easy to get a hold of. When contacted, he pointed out that large portions of the report were inaccurate. A prominent climate blogger contacted both Latif and the NSIDC; he quotes Latif as saying, “I don’t know what to do. They just make these things up.” Referring to “facts” attributed to it by the article, The NSIDC’s director said, “This is completely false. NSIDC has never made such a statement and we were never contacted by anyone from the Daily Mail. “

Read More of John Timmer’s article on ars technica

4 Comments on "Why Is The News Media Comfortable With Lying About Science?"

  1. the news is a product not a service,
    they sell what people are buying…..currently that's halfbaked nonsense designed to make the target audience feel smart.

  2. tonyviner | Jan 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm |

    The thing that bothers me about it is that global warming is not the only effect of our actions, the tons of pollution that we unleash into the ecosystem each year is just as devastating to our planet and our way of life. While I firmly believe that the planet will be just fine, no matter what we throw its way, the life that lives on it will remain forever changed and not necessarily in a positive way. All the current debate does is lay the groundwork for the corporations that hold much of the power to have the laws governing pollution relaxed so they can continue to spew waste all over our planet, but do it with a “clean conscious”. This is absurd and it bothers me that people fall for what ever is fed to them on their TVs.

  3. science is hard. like math. the american people understand this. why do you hate americans?

  4. science is hard. like math. the american people understand this. why do you hate americans?

Comments are closed.